Movement. When I was interviewing designer Tia Cibani at her studio, one of the references of inspiration for her fall collection was just that, movement. The full dancer skirts, gathered backs, swinging dresses, and loose silhouettes all flow in graceful motions. Even in the fabric design, the blurred lines of the rose print look as if the fabric has flown by you, leaving behind only the scent of roses. The clothes hanging there in the showroom were screaming at me to be whirled around, caught in the wind, and flicked off a finger.
I asked Amy, a recent New Orleans transplant and a trained dancer (in ballet, jazz, AND tap) to come in and be our movement, our graceful, elegant motions. We started talking about dance, about her motivation to dance, and she said, “I love when you find that vulnerability of not caring and letting your body completely take over. It’s very invigorating.” And it was indeed, an exhilarating live performance piece in the middle of our studio; garments singing in ripples of red satin, billows of draped tweed, twirls of shining pleats!
After the shoot I asked Amy what it felt like to dance in these clothes, and she replied, “I felt like a goddess, like a queen. It was so beautiful, it moved with me like an extension of my body.” Now that sounds like an outfit I could dance my way through Manhattan in, too…
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Recently I was delighted to meet designer Tia Cibani at her work studio in the Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, a lovely little corner studio that overlooks the beautiful cobblestone intersection of Gansevoort and Greenwich Streets. It was one of those beautiful spring days, the kind where, if you live in a walking city like I do, you opt to take the long walk home because it’s so beautiful out, and I was wearing (finally) my new spring dress designed by Tia. It reminded me of Audrey Hepburn dancing around Paris in Funny Face…but updated with its asymmetry and MoMA-esque quirk.
I was excited to meet the designer – having been born in North Africa then raised in Canada before living in China for a decade, I knew she had a true worldly palette to pull from. So here is a lovely afternoon spent in the design studio of Tia Cibani and her thoughts on fashion, designing, traveling and where her inspiration comes from…
PS- from her spring collection my favorite pieces are this for a cocktail party / this for a lunch date / or this for everyday forever and ever (so my new mantra).
What is your background? Do you think it influences your design?
Well, I was born in Libya, but my family moved to Canada when I was 6 years old. I haven’t been back to Libya since…I’ve been to different parts of North Africa – Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco – but not to Libya. I do have some childhood memories, but they are very, very faint.
I think subliminally, it definitely finds its way into my designs. I’m drawn to that part of the world. I love the food, I love the music, I love the color, I love the history. It’s a part of me, and I’m drawn to it.
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