Three days into 2018, Amy Smilovic declared Tibi’s yearlong focus: “This is going to be the year of shoes, bags and China,” she said during a walk-through of the pre-fall collection. The lineup made clear her commitment to her first point with a tight but vibrant assortment of shoes in vivid colors and novelty styles including knee-high burgundy boots with Western details, purple pumps and strappy pink sandals all done in heel heights that were manageable without being mumsy. Smilovic reported exceptional growth in Tibi’s shoe business, crediting a tight offer true to her vision. “We did the same number of stockkeeping units. We don’t have to have a heel height for everyone under the sun,” she said.
As for the clothes, she mostly dashed up the label’s best-selling silhouettes — wide-leg suits; high-waisted pants; modest, midlength dresses with novel back details — with subtle Western references. An ivory dress with an open back tied with a fringed scarf was embroidered with colorful paisley patches. A chicly roomy suit came in mismatched tartan with a quirky Western belt. And if you thought the sweatshirt had reached peak ubiquity, Smilovic managed to make it look new as sophisticated, nylon blend dresses, cardigans and tracksuit trousers that were as refined and sophisticated as loungewear has ever been.
Finally, Asia. Smilovic returned from a recent trip to Seoul, Shanghai and Chengdu and was very inspired by what she saw in terms of the local clientele’s taste level and appetite for style and the business opportunities. She’s planning another trip to the region in the spring.