RVA Fashion Week kicks off tomorrow and runs through April 9. There are all sorts ofstyle-centric events going on all week, as well as plenty of fashion shows, including Catwalk for Kids of Richmond on April 8 at Rocketts Landing. This fundraiser for the Children’s Hospital of Richmond will include a luncheon, a Tibi fashion show and a personal appearance by Tibi designer and founder Amy Smilovic (pictured). I contacted Smilovic for a quick chat about her spring collection and her fashion favorites in preparation for her upcoming appearance. (Tickets are still available for $125 per person or $1,250 for a 10-seat table.)
MM: Tell me about the aesthetic of your line.
AS: The collection for spring 2011 is all about a twist on the classics. Taking items we're familiar with but playing with proportions and intensity of colors.
MM: What made you decide to get involved with Catwalk for Kids?
AS: Mary Norton [founder of Catwalk for Kids] and Catwalk for Kids was referred to Tibi by Saks, a great retailer of ours in Richmond. Mary’s enthusiasm had us from the start. I love the story of how quickly she's expanded Catwalk for Kids. I wanted Tibi to be involved in the incredible opportunity to help out such a great children's cause. I also really just love what’s going on with these regional fashion weeks, supporting emerging designers and smaller markets.
MM: Can you give us any previews of what we'll be seeing on the runway in Richmond?
AS: You'll see a range of styles from the entire spring collection. I really wanted to give the feeling of the whole spring collection — lots of soft, subtle colors mixed with deep pops of colors.
MM: Is there any specific inspiration for your current collection?
AS: For spring, we love dressing in a head-to-toe way — wearing a short and top in the same fabrication so it actually reads as one piece. We've been calling them "threefers" around the showroom. You get a top outfit, a bottom outfit, and a fabulous dress outfit all in one ... making economical dressing totally chic and fabulous.
MM: What do you think are fashion must-haves for this spring/summer?
AS: Pops of neon color, flat loafers, long skirts, slinky tanks and quirky accessories.
MM: I like your philosophy about women dressing in contradictions — mixing masculine and feminine, youthful and sophisticated, bold and muted — but it can be tough to hit the right stride when doing this. Any suggestions on how to make a good mix using current styles?
AS: I absolutely adore mixing up what you wear and think it can be so liberating once you get the hang of it. It’s really about wearing what you love and are passionate about. When you do that, there's no going wrong. Right now I love a tan, neutral short and cream-colored blouse that's in our spring collection, but I'll be mixing it with my neon-green Miu Miu bag. It never feels good to play it too safe. Many people say you should get dressed and then take off one item. I'm all about the opposite — get dressed and then add an item, or maybe even two.
MM: Do you have any favorite jewelry or accessories lines? Items that complement your designs well?
AS: I love Margiela, but because it’s so modern and severe and somewhat the opposite of my aesthetic. I like mixing these opposites. I'm currently obsessed with my Genevieve Jones safety-pin diamond earrings, vintage Chanel bags and anything fluorescent.
MM: What are your travel essentials?