News first: Tibi has officially launched men’s. Ssense picked up the smattering of men’s looks that appeared on Amy Smilovic’s spring runway and will be incubating the collection for at least a yearlong exclusive. “We didn’t really know we were tapping into something new in the market,” Smilovic said during a pre-fall preview. “Ssense really believes there’s a whole area missing for soft tailoring. Men’s doesn’t really have any young designer correlation. There’s nothing for a guy who’s like, ‘I want to pay a little more than contemporary and a lot less than designer and I don’t want to be street.’”
In terms of the pre-fall lineup at large, Smilovic focused on lightening things up in terms of attitude, a sense of humor. “We never do a theme, per se, but we were feeling the need to shake things up a bit, keeping on the track of updating classics, and a little bit of not taking yourself so seriously felt right,” she said. “We love suiting and a real urban palette, but we wanted to infuse it with a nature vibe.” Nothing was funny-ha-ha, but there were moments of cheekiness, for example, an oversize women’s suit cinched with a supersized, Eighties-inspired belt with gold alligators arranged in what looked a bit like a six and a nine. A modernist handkerchief dress in earthy colorblocks was printed with ants. Another long-sleeve dress was printed in muted multicolored swirls derived from a vintage ant farm. Smilovic moved her minimalist, urban needle in the direction of nature through color, such as green, yellow, brown, sunset mauve. The collection hit the bull’s-eye on the space that she has savvily targeted since re-branding a few years ago: women who want to pay more than contemporary, a lot less than designer and want to be chic.