‘The City’ Behind The Scenes With Tibi Designer Amy Smilovic: ‘Olivia Palermo Epitomizes The Tibi Girl’

Olivia Palermo in Tibi clothes and Tibi designer Amy Smilovic.
Photo: MTV

Last night’s season finale of The City took us halfway across the world! During the episode, we went along with Olivia to visit Tokyo, Japan, where she hosted an event for Japanese Elle to discuss fashion tips and trends with Amy Smilovic, the designer of the fashion label Tibi. Well, we caught up with Amy to snag the full behind-the-scenes scoop about her Japan trip with Olivia, her design inspirations, how to get Olivia’s look, and her tips on breaking into the fashion industry. Read on to find out!!

What was it like filming for The City?
Amy Smilovic: “Pretty insane! You don’t realize the absurd things you say until it comes out on television. Thankfully, microphones aren’t attached to me every day!”

How did Olivia come to host the Tibi event in Japan?
“I’ve always loved Olivia and she epitomizes the Tibi girl. She has so much fun with dressing, she’s all about style and not about fashion, she has such a unique way of putting things together. I love tossing her the elements and seeing what she’ll do with them. I’m never a fan of a head to toe designer look — even Tibi — and Olivia knows exactly how to mix it up. I’ve been friends with her forever and she seemed like a natural to come to Japan with me. And the girls over there DIE for her!”


The Calla Lily V Dress ($368).
Photo: MTV; RevolveClothing.com

You’re obviously global, as we spotted girls in the Japan audience wearing your Calla Lily V Dress ($368). How do you approach designing for women around the world?
“I can’t think about women specific to each city or country or my collection would be a mess. I simply have to think about the iconic Tibi girl — she loves getting dressed, always in a way that’s effortless but never lazy, she’s crazy for things that are well made, and she wants something unique that can’t be found at J.Crew or Zara, something with more of a designer point of view. In every country there are women who think like this.”

What are your style inspirations?
“I like things that are fabulously well made, utterly chic and luxurious without being too formal. I love mixing colors that are unexpected — colbalt blue with rust, bright yellow with gray. I’m always obsessed with the seventies icon’s: the crew at Charlie’s Angels, Charlotte Rampling, Ali McGraw, Lauren Hutton — they have the chic flat chested look, wavy hair (mine’s not, wish it was), and are just beyond chic.”

Your clothes are so colorful! What does color do for your look?
“I don’t feel right leaving the house without some (not all) color on me. It’s important that you have fun when you dress. I find the all black look a bit of a bore. Or all khaki much too safari inspired. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a monochromatic look – but I’d wear the khaki with a red shoulder bag and blush colored sandals.”

What are your summer must-have items?
“Bright colored silk pants, men’s inspired flat sandals (my Celine are my favorites), a neutral colored shirt, and bold printed bikini, and any kind of caftan.”

What are some tips for breaking into the fashion industry?
“Always stay true to your style. It’s easy to get influenced by this or that, but the person who stands out has their own unique sense of style — it’s something that others just can’t copy. For everyone who hates a person’s style, there’s someone else that loves it. I’m a big fan of no “style don’ts” as long as it’s uniquely yours. The only “style don’t” I have is playing it safe or dressing head to toe in someone else’s logos. Horrific!

+ Want the Tibi look? Get it!
On Olivia: Red silk military bodysuit, $275, and black silk draped pant, $320, from the fall collection. In Tibi’s New York store next month (120 Wooster St., nr. Prince St.; 212-226-5852).
On the crowd: The Calla Lily V Dress from the spring collection, $368 at RevolveClothing.com.