Despite its many, many haters, the Y2K revival has triumphed and become inescapable on the streets and the runways. It seems every label is offering its own iteration. For spring 2022 Tibi designer Amy Smilovic gives her take on the trend, but with some caveats. “This is my chance to redo Y2K in the way that I wish I had gone through it, with this balance,” Smilovic says. “When I look back through my photos [from that era], that’s when I lost myself and went off the rails. You’re either trying to experiment or push for the sake of pushing and it’s really easy to lose your core.”
Her spring 2022 collection provides special pieces that meet the current moment, but will work back with workhorse basics. The silhouette is long and lean—tailored jackets, midi skirts and dresses, close-fitting sheer tops. “Things have been really boxy for a while, or really babydoll or peplum-y,” Smilovic says. “Not at Tibi, but just out there.” If you didn’t know that Smilovic was inspired in part by the early aughts, you may not even notice. Her utilitarian spirit is obvious in tailored separates and sleek skirts that could easily be worn to work or a cocktail party. As she says, these aren’t pieces to lose yourself in.
That’s not to say there isn’t novelty and fun: A rainbow patchwork sweater features one arm in a beyond-open weave, almost like fishnet stockings; a pair of brown suede flats are adorned with dangling jewels, and the sheer dresses and tops add an interesting texture to the mix. Many of the garments feature one or two special details. A blue blazer has cutouts at the waist, and a pair of denim trousers feature a turn-of-the-millenium double waistband.
Again, everything is meant to be folded into existing wardrobes, not overtake them. The stretchy chartreuse skirt is eye-catching on the rack, but that particular color was developed to pair well with grays, blacks, and browns. “With the whole Y2K dressing, you’re so committed to one piece of clothing that there’s no way to deconstruct it. I think that’s why the pendulum gets swung so far,” Smilovic says. “People get so heavy handed and then need to take it all apart and go for minimalism and utilitarianism. So we want to find the sweet spot.” There’s a sense that the Y2K revival is for the kids, but this collection combats that. It’s an adult’s way of approaching trends.