Amy Smilovic

Tibi’s Amy Smilovic celebrates effortless femininity and playfulness in her designs on a day-to-day basis. Though we love and appreciate the line all year around, summer is a time when we especially love to bedeck ourselves in its whimsical but minimal clothing and accessories. That’s why we couldn’t help but sit down for lunch (take-out from Otto) in the Tibi studio with Smilovic (who is equally as charming as the styles she creates) to talk about travel, the quintessential Tibi woman and the never-ending quest to perfect a classic…

tibi founder

From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?

A vegetable smoothie, sushi, and something inspired by my Southern roots!

What’s your drink?

Coffee by day, Martini by night – Grey Goose Vodka, dirty, with lots of olives.

What are your morning and nightly beauty routines? 

My beauty routine is minimal; I wear Bobbi Brown facial night cream for day, because my skin needs hydration, even in the summer. I don’t wear too much makeup but I’m loyal to what I use – Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer with SPF, Clinique Quick Blush (a portable all-in-one), Lorac Under-Eye Concealer and Bobbi Brown No Smudge Mascara. I use Tammy Fender’s Milk Cleanser at night; I’ve found that foaming face washes dry out the skin. I follow it up with an antioxidant neroli and orange replenishing cream, which is light but effective. I also love Devachan “No-Poo” and masculine scents like Margiela Untitled.

How do you start your day on a good note?

By having breakfast with my two boys at home.

Where do you draw inspiration from? 

Inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere – much of the time it’s travel. I’m constantly flipping through books, looking at photography, drawings, paintings, watching old films, looking at architecture, and traveling overseas.

How has Tibi changed since you first started? 

Tibi has evolved over the years – I’d say more significantly in the past two – while always staying true to our roots. Key design elements I incorporate into every collection are functionality, femininity and unique detailing; I want women to feel comfortable and confident in what they’re wearing. When I began the brand in 1997, my focus was on dresses in bold colors and prints. In the past few years, the collection has evolved into more relaxed and minimal solid separates with a few strong prints intertwined.

If you could describe the ‘Tibi’ woman, what would you say? 

She dresses with a cool sense of ease – a sort of nonchalant femininity that’s always minimal and never overwrought.

Words to design by…

Relaxed, feminine, authentic, versatile, and wearable.

Best piece of advice you ever received, and how you’re practicing it now…

I received a great piece of advice from an entrepreneur living in Hong Kong. He encouraged me to forego the traditional business plan. His advice was: “Make a product. If you sell the product, you have a business. If you don’t sell the product, you don’t have a business.” He pushed me away from over-analyzing and into just doing. It’s too easy on paper to demonstrate how you’ll sell something. Nothing is more of a reality check than actually trying to sell a real product.

Where do you love to travel? What won’t you travel without?

I love Europe. I recently went to Stockholm and was enamored by the culture. I also love Capri and I’m partial to Prague – my husband is Czech and my children are dual citizens, so it’s become a home away from home for us.  Bali for me is unforgettable; it was the catalyst for my designs when I first started the brand. You will never find me without my iPad, iPod, or iPhone.

What’s always in your bag? 

Labello lip balm, my sketchbook and my iPad, iPod, and iPhone.

What fashion classic could still be perfected?

I don’t believe there is one piece that still needs to be perfected, or any that will ultimately reach perfection. I think all classics will continuously be updated to fit the trends of their time.

If you could host a dinner party with any five people, living or dead, who would be there? What would you cook? 

Frank Lloyd Wright, Tina Fey, Claire McCardell, Stephen Shore, and Katharine Hepburn. I’m admittedly not much of a chef, so I’d bring in my friend Joe Bastianich to prepare an impressive Italian meal. One requirement of mine is ‘never too formal’. I like fun and relaxed; it always makes for a more interesting dinner party.

tibi dresses

*Amy Smilovic, photographed in her New York City studio by Danielle Kosann. Amy wears Tibi and Anita Ko for Tibi jewelry.