Five years ago we never would have said this, but: we were actually really excited to see what Tibi’s Amy Smilovic had up her sleeve this season. Really.
Lately, the designer’s cast her fourteen-year-old line in a new light, abandoning its hold as a Milly or Rebecca Taylor competitor. Instead of collections that are perfectly pleasant though always predictable, Tibi’s stepping into new territory: sharp blazers and strikingly full skirts, rendered not in flimsy fabrics, but luxe materials that merit a rising price tag (last season, a more lavish cocktail dress neared $800). The brand’s aiming for a different niche: stuff Olivia Palermo might wear, or at least, the kind of stuff that looks like it. Which makes sense, as the socialite, fashion darling, and soon-to-be website mogul is now the face of the brand.
Palermo sat pretty in the front row with Emma Roberts and Sophia Bush, stars with style more saccharine than that of both Palermo and this new, reinvented Tibi. This season, leather looks gave the line some edge, most notably in a perforated black sheath, and a cobalt and black color blocked dress with mullet hem. But perhaps most serendipitous for Smilovic were the pants she sent down the runway: silk, wide-leg trousers in both monochrome and print. A surefire way to grab Tommy Ton’s or Scott Schuman’s attention, these pants have popped up on some of the mostly stylish industry insiders this week (Natalie Joos, Barneys’ Amanda Brooks), making us wonder if they'll have a trickle down effect. If these are the new maxi skirt of last season, Similovic will have much to celebrate. But if not, she still needn’t worry; there was much in this collection to sate the new Tibi customer, who wants to be girly without any of the previous frill or fuss.