Tibi's Amy Smilovic has been putting in a bid to join the boys' club. She made a conscious effort to split from the pack of contemporary brands who put out party frocks (Nanette Lepore, Jill Stuart, etc.) several years ago, in hopes of hanging with a edgier, downtown crowd in department stores (think 3.1 Phillip Lim and Rag & Bone). Pre-fall reflects this ongoing shift in Tibi's focus. The lineup boasts menswear-inspired sportswear separates like a sharp, double-faced wool blazer with knit sleeves and zipper accents, and a pair of sleek, cropped trousers cut from Italian gabardine. Smilovic has been favoring solid colors and minimalist silhouettes lately, but it was the scattering of printed pieces that made the boldest impact. Florals can often turn out too girly, but here they managed to be spare, vibrant, and modern at the same time—Smilovic explained that she "pulled and twisted them for a warped effect."

Speaking of prints, Smilovic has recently been working with Memorial Sloan-Kettering hospital to make scarves from scrap fabric for teenagers battling with cancer. Considering this act of kindness and the collection's all-around clean appeal, karma should be on Tibi's side when it comes to sales.