07/29/2010 10:42 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Tibi Designer: Fur IN, Studs & Chains OUT for Fall

Amy Smilovic, the founder and designer of the popular contemporary line Tibi, knows what she likes. "Growing up in the South, I constantly saw women asking their friends for approval. I hate that," Smilovic recently told Emily Hsieh, a regular contributor to The Inside Source, eBay's online style magazine. "I design for the girl who doesn't want her friends' approval."

Smilovic has a keen sense of which trends to embrace and what she wants to see die. "I'm so tired of the overly aggressive style that's out there," she said. "When you're sitting in the Palm Beach airport and you see all these blond women wearing studs and chains, that's when you know the trend has slammed against the wall and needs to stop! But you can't just move to pastel chiffon from there. You need to bridge the gap." Smilovic suggests a transition piece for fall, like a fur chubby -- traditionally luxe but still a bit bad girl -- as a way of "weaning off the tough trends."

The following is an excerpt of Smilovic's interview with Hsieh. For more of her fashion tips, visit The Inside Source.


The Inside Source: Tell me about the fall line. What was your inspiration?

Amy Smilovic: We like to center a collection around a theme, and for fall we based it on Napolean and Josephine. Things that were just light and fun and ethereal, mixed in with things with a military theme and a harder edge. It's all about the contrast.

TIS: What's one of your favorite looks?

AS: The Genevieve chiffon dress, which we layered with a grey long sleeve t-shirt in our runway show. Olivia [Palermo] wore it on The City last week in 90 degree heat in Tokyo, though it'll look amazing in October with tights and a fur coat. That's one of the things the economy has forced us to do -- think about how people can get more mileage out of their clothes.

TIS: What are some of the key pieces you think every woman should have this fall?

AS: I love all the fur. We did grey faux fur chubbies on the runway. It's fake but so luxurious, and fun without looking like you're trying too hard. I love the chubbies with grey wool shorts and tights. It should be worn in a casual way -- don't pair one with really tight jeans and thigh high boots.

TIS: Do you shop on eBay?

AS: I do!

TIS: What are some your favorite recent scores?

AS: My Alaia platforms. I saw them on Sea of Shoes and went straight to eBay to see if I could find them. They're super high brown platforms with cut out detailing and they were sold out everywhere else.

TIS: What else are you looking for on eBay?

AS: I buy a lot of men's shoes. We use them when we're designing. They always have great details like the buckle or the stitching or the top of a brogue. Vintage printed caftans are what I search for the most. It's so interesting to see, spatially, how they set up their prints. All of that stuff is really relevant when you design all your own.


Smilovic is currently scouting stacked heel clogs, batwing dresses, knitted fur pieces and army belts on eBay. For the full article, visit The Inside Source.

** Portrait and runway image provided by Smilovic. **