Designer Notes

Holiday Interview with Cynthia Ivey Abitz

It can be tough to tear a busy designer away from her stacks of fabric swatches for 5 minutes. (Yes, even when you are married to her – which I am.) But that’s what I did on the one week anniversary of the 2012 Holiday Collection. I sat Cynthia Ivey Abitz (CIA) down for a 5 minute interview about her latest collection.

Cynthia's favorite everyday outfit from the Holiday Collection
One of Cynthia's favourite everyday ensembles from the Holiday Collection

What’s the thing you’re happiest with about this collection?

CIA: There’s a simplicity and a complexity to the Milton Vest and Milton Jacket that draws me in. It has very simple lines so it can conform to any shape. That’s the simplicity part of it. The complex part of it is when you look closely at the collar, it consists of many different pieces, and there are many rows of top stitching all around the collar for both structural and aesthetic reasons. That’s the kind of detail that I love in a garment. They’re subtle, and it only takes a few seconds to notice those details.

What’s the most versatile fabric in the collection?

CIA: Our staple linens are our most versatile. They can be mixed and matched with everything from luxurious brocades to a pair of vintage jeans. But the brocades are equally versatile. At first glance, one might look at them and think, “oh, those are too dressy,” because they’re so intricately woven.  Someone might love a brocade but think it’s too extravagant for their lifestyle or for where they live, but it’s really about mixing and matching, and putting it next to our other fabrics like our everyday linens. That dresses it down and makes it wearable for every day.

What makes a good holiday outfit?

CIA: There are so many answers to that question, and that’s the beauty of the collection. With so many options to mix and match within the Ivey Abitz collection as a whole, there’s an answer for me, and there are twenty other answers for twenty other people.

What are you wearing from the holiday collection?

CIA: My favorite ensemble for everyday wear has been the Fitz Vest in Floral Cotton Velvet over the new Phinneus Coat Dress. That over a pair of trousers or a frock, depending on the mood I’m in. It’s a great way to take what many people categorize as an ultra premium luxurious fabric and tone it down for every day.


Which of the holiday fabrics to you lean toward?

CIA: I gravitate toward the brocades that are intricately woven. That’s why there are four of them in the collection! I think they lend themselves so well to what Ivey Abitz is all about. They’re beautifully made, intricately woven, made with beautiful premium fibers from the best mills, and they complement the Ivey Abitz philosophy and aesthetic perfectly.

Do you have questions or comments for Cynthia about her holiday collection? Post them in the comments below!