UPDATE: This story was originally published on October 10.
Greenwich, Connecticut: land of cable-knit sweaters, triple-strand pearl necklaces, country clubs, and McMansions. Excuse the hyperbole, but we don't exactly equate the tony NYC suburb with fashion-forwardness. So, imagine R29's surprise when our day trip to the bastion of prep took us not to Blair Waldorf's aunt's estate, but instead, to a sun-drenched and color-filled pad that's more boho glam than Brunschwig & Fils.
Not that we should be shocked — the home in question belongs to none other than Amy Smilovic, the designer and founder of R29-obsession, Tibi
. Because we're just as enamored as you are with the brand's sweetly edgy aesthetic (it makes sense, promise), we hit up Smilovic for an exclusive tour of her CT casa, plus a big serving of her inspiring style, home decor tips, and fall dressing ideas. No pastel, cashmere, over-the-shoulder cable-knits in sight.
Check out a Greenwich mansion so chic we want to move in.
: Oh, and if our slideshow has you jonesing Smilovic's singular style, you can show her closet RIGHT NOW on R29 Shops
Photographed by Mindy Best
You have a beautiful home in Greenwich, but what is it like commuting? What do you do on your daily commute?
"My husband Frank and I drive in together. We have a policy at home that our kids put in place — no talking about work — so it’s a perfect time for us to do this without the distractions of daily phone calls and design meetings. On the occasion that I take the train in, I’m shopping on my iPad."
Balenciaga dress tucked into Tibi skirt, Alaïa booties.
What do you love about living in Connecticut that was missing from your city life?
"It’s nice to have the best of both worlds. I’m in Soho every day getting my fill of the city life, but Connecticut is great for the outdoors. It’s gorgeous right now with the leaves changing — you get a sense of the seasons which I don’t feel as much in NYC. My boys are able to get out and run around on the soccer and football fields, which I think they’d miss living in the city."
Is there anything you miss about living in NYC?
"Definitely. NYC is so energetic and cultural. I miss Broadway shows, all the great restaurants, and nightlife. Of course, I’m in a different stage of my life now, but it never gets old. The nice thing is that we still do get to enjoy these things, just on a more limited basis."
Vince blouse, Acne T-shirt, Tibi pants, Tibi x Del Toro slippers.
What is your favorite room in your house, and why?
"My living room. I love the various shades of greys and whites, with a pop of yellow in the curtains and rug. I love the sculptural elements in the furniture and artwork. It’s our more formal entertaining space but it's very comfortable."
You seem to have mastered the art of wallpaper — any tips for novices?
"Wallpaper is a great way to spruce up a room. We did a collaboration a few years ago with Flavor Paper. I put up a black and white paisley print on one unique wall in my bedroom to give our bed an interesting backdrop. I also plastered the bathroom with another one of our exclusive prints — it’s warm and makes a typically white-walled area more inviting. I think whatever you choose needs to fit the mood of the room. And, don’t go overboard — mixing too many prints and colors will be overwhelming."
Balenciaga T-shirt, Tibi skirt, Costume National booties.
How do you keep your home so beautiful (and intact!) with your two boys and your pets?
"Other than the outdoors, the boys pretty much live in two areas of the house — the kitchen and the TV room. Both have been wear-proofed throughout the years. The other rooms stay nice and untouched for my husband, myself, and entertaining friends."
What kind of entertaining do you do at home? Do you have any tips for throwing a good party?
"We do a majority of our entertaining outdoors in the summer, so it’s more informal on the patio or by the pool. I’m from the south, so I love a good BBQ. My tip for throwing a good party is inviting fun friends in small groups, having good music, fun cocktails, and keeping it relaxed."
Any tips for aspiring young designers? What's one lesson you wish someone had told YOU?
"Stay true to your vision. Things may seem daunting and overwhelming in the beginning, but keep going. If you have the motivation and excitement you can make it work."
Tibi sweater, Tibi trousers, Céline shoes.
What about your own wardrobe — do you find yourself designing clothes for yourself?
"I design now for myself more than ever, there isn’t a piece in the collection that I wouldn’t wear. I love to mix and match designers, but every day my outfit incorporates at least one Tibi item."
What is your typical daily uniform?
"It totally depends on my mood. It can range from my R13 jeans, Balenciaga tee, and Acne booties, to a vintage Prada dress with a wide leather belt and Tibi heels."
Where are some of your favorite places to shop in NYC?
"Kirna Zabête, Jeffrey, Bergdorf Goodman, and Barneys."
Do you have any hard-and-fast rules for your own personal style?
"Always feel confident. If you don’t, even the coolest outfit won’t look right. And, dress for your mood and schedule. One thing today may be totally wrong for the next."
What are some of your favorite fall pieces from your wardrobe?
"I’m loving our Tibi bonded tweed boxy coat right now. I was excited to see some street style girls wearing it on Harpers.com
. I’m also a big fan of our burgundy bonded vinyl skirt (our fall advertising look). I’m obsessing on my new Costume National pointed black leather booties and Miu Miu embroidered velvet slippers."
A pop of yellow, thanks to Tibi curtains.
You're obviously a big fan of Olivia Palermo — could you ever imagine collaborating on clothing? Why do you think so many people love her style?
"I adore Olivia, she looks amazing in our clothes. I think people love her style because she has an innate eye for mixing and matching items that many people wouldn’t figure together. And, she chooses pieces that are perfect for her fit and frame."
What's next for Tibi?
"A lot of fun things are in the works, we have an exciting collaboration coming out for the spring that we’ll be announcing soon!"