Exclusive: JSD Interviews Amy Smilovic (Tibi)

Amy Smilovic - Tibi DesignerAmerican designer Amy Smilovic held two successful careers at American Express in Manhattan and Ogilvy & Mather advertising, before her transition as founder and fashion designer of Tibi. Soon after moving to Hong Kong in 1997, Smilovic began designing a line of shabby chic dresses based on her inspirations while traveling abroad. The Tibi brand is known as one of the hottest contemporary lines and has a well established international presence at high-end boutiques around the world.

Amy is currently prepping Tibi for it’s Fall 2009 Runway Presentation at Mercedez-Benz Fashion Week on Tuesday, February 17, 2009. She took time out of her busy schedule to sit down with JohnSimonDaily.com for an exclusive interview, where she gave us exclusive details of what we can expect to see this season and much more.


JSD: What are your influences for the Fall 2009 collection and what makes it differ from previous seasons?/ What can we expect to see February, 17th? What fabrics were used?

Amy: Russian Fairy tales – specifically The Fire Bird. The collection is a little darker and moodier than previous collections but with vibrant pops of strong jewel tones. Fabrics are a mix of very fluid silks with highly structured wools.  Lot’s of asymmetry and feminine ruffles.

JSD: Do you try to send out a message or theme in your clothes?

Amy: I design around a message because it’s what keeps the collection cohesive – when you’re all over the place, it’s hard to convince someone that you truly feel passionate about a certain look. So yes, I do try to send a message.

JSD: What was the process of designing the collection?

Amy: I always start with the prints and the overall feeling I have for the season (super relaxed, off kilter styling, etc.).  From there, the other steps fall in to place – like embroidery and beading design, fabric selection, etc.

JSD: We have seen many celebrities wearing Tibi, including Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon and Liv Tyler. Who would you like to dress?

Amy: Would love to dress the fabulous girls that don’t usually wear prints – like Angelina Jolie or Gwyneth Paltrow.  Would love to see them have more fun when they dress – and especially to see Angelina Jolie dress a little younger.

JSD: What is your take on the economy and it’s affects on the fashion industry? Do you think it will get better?

Amy: No, I don’t really see the economy getting better anytime soon – I’ve got too many friends in banking to feel optimistic.  As its effect on fashion, I think people are looking for items that make them feel great and are absolutely timeless.  And for my Tibi girl, a one shoulder giant bird print is absolutely timeless – she’s not looking for practicality – economy or no economy, she wants things that she’s just mad for.  I would hate to be selling grey slacks right now.

JSD: What do you consider a fashion do or don’t?

Amy: Trends head to toe, definitely a don’t. Wearing what you love and makes you feel great, regardless of anything, is to me a do.

Tibi Spring 2009 Ready-to-WearTibi Spring 2009 Ready-to-Wear

Tibi Spring 2009 Ready-to-WearTibi Spring 2009 Ready-to-Wear

(Tibi Spring 2009 Collection)

JSD: What styles translate best to real figures?

Amy: I’m sorry, I don’t believe in a real figure.  Everyone is different.  Short and squat,  you look good in something fitted at the waist and fuller at the bottom, tighter on top.  Long and lean, you should wear something off the shoulder, slinky, etc. etc.

JSD: What one piece should every woman invest in for the Fall?

Amy: An amazing asymmetrical shoulder dress.

JSD: The Tibi brand is known for producing magnificent dresses and feminine prints. what makes a good dress?

Amy: Confidence.

JSD: Where do you see the Tibi line (and fashion) in the next 5 years?

Amy: Fully fledged home, interior, accessories, beauty, etc.

JSD: What do you feel is the next big fashion trend?

Amy: Very relaxed.  Everything has a bit of ease. Hems are dangling or draped. Shoulders are slightly off the body. Waists are dropped.

JSD: How would you describe your clientele?

Amy: Someone who is very outgoing and confident and they look forward to getting dressed – they love the challenge and they love making an entrance.

JSD: What will never go out of style?

Amy: Your own personal style.

JSD: What do you like about New York Fashion Week and what makes you present your Fall 2009 collection here?

Amy: I love fashion week – I love the models, styling the clothes, selecting the music – I absolutely adore every minute of it.

JSD: Tell us about your personal style and your favorite designers, besides yourself.

Amy: Always changing. I get a new haircut every six weeks. I dye my hair every 3 months.  No one can recognize me one season to the next , I love to try new things.  I love designer lines  – Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Balmain, Stella, Lanvin, and Prada is just genius.

Amy Smilovic

To learn more about designer Amy Smilovic and Tibi, please visit Tibi.com

*JSD will be on location for the big show. Stay tuned…

Photo: Marcio Madeira

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