Cool. It's not a word to describe designer Tia Cibani's decade-long effort at Ports 1961. Practical, definitely. Chic, certainly. But cool? It just wasn't in her vocabulary.
With her namesake collection, which debuted for Spring 2013, Cibani seems less afraid of being hip. "I'm expressing myself on more of a personal level," she said after her presentation, which featured an intriguing matte metallic paper installation by the artist Kirsten Hassenfeld.
Fresh off her win for Fashion Group International's Rising Star Award—past recipients include Wes Gordon and Joseph Altuzarra—Cibani presented a garçonne-appropriate collection featuring plenty of navy, black, and gray wool separates. Ideal for aspiring Alexa Chungs of the world. (The eccentric Peggy Guggenheim served as Cibani's muse this season.)
The first look—a white poplin button-up paired with a black double-faced wool V-neck coat and cigarette trousers—appealed as much to the 20-somethings in the audience as it did the Ports customers who wear her wares in law offices and investment banks. Those professional types were rewarded with a magenta asymmetrical chiffon dress: classic from the front, but the back took things to a new level, with intricate neck-to-hem accordion pleats done by New York's famed International Pleating, a stalwart in the city's shrinking Garment District.
The one misstep was a geometric-print sateen sheath dress, paired with a rose-gold geometric brocade capelet. Compared to the silver-and-gold lamé pleated dress that ended the show, it just felt a little too forced. But with such a promising collection, Cibani should be forgiven.