Although Tibi’s flagship store is located on Wooster Street in New York City’s Soho neighborhood, the line has an effervescent appeal that complements the Newport lifestyle. When I learned designer Amy Smilovic (left) grew up on a small island off the coast of Georgia, it made sense that Tibi seems right at home in the City-by-the-Sea (where she hopes to visit). So I interviewed the designer of this much loved line, and here’s what Amy had to say:
How would you describe the Tibi aesthetic? Tibi has been going through a transformation for the past few seasons. We’re working with new silhouettes and fabrications, while remaining true to certain aspects of the brand: undeniable-pops of color, a mix of masculine and feminine and effortless dressing. The Tibi girl (or woman) is someone who wants to have fun. Clothing, of course, serves a very basic function, but beyond that it’s about feeling great in what you wear.
What inspires your design in general, and what is the inspiration behind your Spring/Summer 2011 collection? For me, inspiration can come from anywhere—much of the time it’s travel. When I started the line in Hong Kong, I was inspired by the juxtaposition of all the Balinese artisans, locals and the ex-pats. Other past collections have stemmed from trips to Palm Beach, Russia, Paris—anywhere. It’s not just travel though; I’m constantly flipping through books, looking at photography, drawings, paintings and watching old films.
Tibi is well known for feminine silhouettes, bright colors, rich prints—pieces that make women look beautiful. Would you describe your work as a celebration of the female form? I love that idea—to celebrate the female form, but I don’t necessarily approach designing that way. When I hear that phrase, I think of some someone like Oscar de la Renta. I focus on making Tibi chic, feminine and wearable with a hint of coolness and edge.
Olivia Palermo (pictured above) is the face for Tibi’s new ad campaign—clearly she’s beautiful and possesses a keen sense of personal style; how do you feel she personifies the Tibi brand? I love the way Olivia embraces personal style–she really mixes and matches brands, always has amazing accessories and understands fit and proportion so well. That’s the way I think a lot of our customers approach dressing, mixing Tibi pieces in with their closet classics and feeling great about the way they look.
What can we find you wearing on a comfortable, relaxed Saturday afternoon? I have a pair of Tibi pants from our last Resort collection, they’re cropped jersey, a loose fit with suede cuffs and waistband. They’re deliciously comfortable but still look put-together. Those and a cropped, loose knit sweater or ¾ sleeve boatneck tee.
Images courtesy of Tibi