Chic Chat: Tibi’s Amy Smilovic

The founder and creative director talks layering like a pro, launching a line of handbags and more.

Tibi's Amy Smilovic poses during a recent visit to Holt Renfrew in Toronto.

Tibi’s Amy Smilovic poses during a recent visit to Holt Renfrew in Toronto.

Describe your Fall/Winter 2016/2017 collection in three words.

Clean, relaxed and feminine.

Which shapes and fits are you loving this season?

Oversized wide leg pants, turtleneck sweaters, tops with interesting sleeves, things that tie, things that wrap and things the poof.

What are your favourite colours this fall?

I’m a huge navy person. Also, burnt rust, grey and black. I also like bright colours, but with that [neutral] foundation.

Like Canada, NYC is no stranger to winter. What are your top tips for looking chic in the cold?

Have layering options, like a cashmere turtleneck, which is great because there are so many interesting off-the-shoulder tops and tops with shoulder cut-outs right now. When you layer that turtleneck underneath, it makes everything so much more functional and season-less at the same time. I always tell people that layering doesn’t have to be complicated. If you take five pieces in a similar colour and layer them on top of each other, that’s when it tends to look the easiest and the most sophisticated. Playing with different textures is great, too. Even just going to the grocery store, you can wear an olive corduroy pant, brown boots, a wheat-coloured sweater with a white shirt underneath, and a dark green jacket.

What is your favourite item in your closet right now?

My favourite item is from our pre-fall collection. It’s available here at Holts, actually, and it’s an incredible menswear-inspired checkered three-quarter-length coat. It’s the perfect piece, because it’s really oversized and unlined, so if it’s really cold out, I wear a quilted down bomber underneath. Even if you’re wearing a black cocktail dress, it had a lot of structure to it and stays over the shoulders — it’s just great.

Do you have any specific criteria for your collections?

Everything I do has to be able to work at the office and out at night, and then I have to be able to wear it to hockey. My life is spent in hockey stadiums, so I need clothes that work for there, too. I don’t want a whole separate wardrobe.

How would you describe your personal style?

It’s always relaxed but refined, and I always want something modern on. It’s definitely on the more masculine side, but always with something feminine. No one is confusing me for a man — taking the masculine elements and feminizing them is what I usually do.

Who are your style icons?

I really like older icons — someone like Charlotte Rampling or Lauren Hutton. Women who wear a lot of pants with ease.

What are the key pieces every stylish woman should have in her closet?

A tuxedo blazer, a pair of clean easy trousers, a navy-blue crewneck sweater and sneakers—Converse or Adidas Stan Smiths.

What’s your favourite way to shop?

I prefer shopping in store. I like to touch and feel. I’m a tactile person and like looking at beautiful fabrics and trying things on.

Any guilty pleasures?

Cheetos, gross candy, like Sugar Babies, and TV.

Favourite travel destinations?

Georgia, where I grew up in the salt and marsh. Italy (Lake Como), London and Hong Kong.

What are five things that always make you happy?

My kids, music, good food, art and the rest of my family.

Any exciting launches or collaborations in store for Tibi?

We have a handbag collection coming out in a month. We are doing it with Myriam Schaefer, who designed for Balenciaga. She did the famous Lariat bag, and we have been working on the collection together for a year and a half. I am really excited for it to come out.

Tell us about a few of Tibi’s famous fans.

We’re worn a lot by Solange Knowles, Alicia Vikander, and Gwyneth Paltrow. Elle Macpherson is also a hockey mom like me, so I dress Elle for all of our hockey stuff.

If you could dress any celebrity, who would it be?

I am going to stick with Alicia Vikander. I would just like to keep dressing her as much as possible, because she clearly just loves fashion and doesn’t have a checklist of what looks good on her body. She just has fun with it.

Interview by Sarah Murray



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