Why InStyle loves Tibi

Why InStyle loves Tibi
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InStyle talks celebs, shopping and style DNA with Tibi designer Amy Smilovic.

She's dressed the likes of Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Scarlett Johansson with her sleek and chic designs, and even our very own Cheryl Cole chose one of her frocks for an X-Factor show. InStyle met New York-based designer Amy Smilovic, the creative force behind that most lust-worthy of labels, Tibi.

Her oh-so-pretty autumn/winter '09 collection was inspired by a Russian fairytale - think swirling maxi-dresses, silky printed minis and sweet ruffled coats. "I would describe it as bright and colourful, but equally chic and sophisticated," she said. "And it's very youthful I think."

Very much based around what Amy herself would wear, her pieces are designed for "the tomboy who likes to be a bit feminine from time to time". So where the patterns, colours and detailing are incredibly intricate, the lines and shapes are simple, elegant and clean-cut. "Because that's what Tibi is all about," she said. "Beautiful pieces that you just have to have, but that are at the same time, very wearable and accessible."

She may have had some of the hottest A-listers showcasing her covetable clobber, but there are a couple of names that she'd love to get her hands on for a good style overhaul. Her pet peeve? Stars who dress older than their age. Namely, Angelina Jolie, "because she can wear anything, and afford anything, but always looks so boring" and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, "because she sometimes gets it right, but more often than not, ends up looking mumsy".

Interestingly, she revealed that her biggest shopping tip is the same method that she uses when she's designing - what she refers to as her "style DNA". According to Amy, everyone should have 10 items of clothing or accessories that make up their style DNA - pieces that you are completely comfortable in, that define who you are and that your friends associate with you. Then before you ever buy anything new, match it up in your mind with one of your 10 key pieces. If it doesn't go with anything, don't get it.

"Too often people listen to other advice and trends and ignore their own voice," she explained. So essentially, if you wear something new but pair it with one of your key pieces, then you can create something stylish but that you'll feel comfortable in - and perhaps most importantly, you won't waste money on things that you'll never wear. "So if I want to try out a new harem pant, I'll make sure that they match my favourite blazer, or my favourite gladiator shoe," she said. "If you do that then you won't lose your own identity."

Just how enlightening? We're already constructing our own style DNA as we write...

Check out the autumn/winter Tibi collection and pick up spring/summer must-haves on sale at Net-a-Porter.

By Sarah Karmali

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