TC ALVAREZ-SIBAL’S closet is a clothes-hoarder’s dream.
Fluffy-tipped Eugenia Kim pointy-toed flats mingle with playful tassled Altuzarra sandals. McQueen clutches are perched next to Valentino heels.
“Europe was the best,” she says of her trip last month, “because it was sale season!”
The designer—who went to Paris, followed by a quick sojourn to London to attend the wedding of former fashion editor Carla Sibal—found herself looking for comfortable shoes.
She spotted them in a pair of Rochas platforms that were, in their own right, as cool as the designer herself—quirky, funny and really stylish.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
Drink a glass of warm water with apple cider vinegar. Then I make breakfast. I recently gave up coffee, so I have hot herbal tea and a bowl of yogurt with chia seeds and fresh fruit (kiwi or banana) and wild honey.
Take us through your beauty regimen.
I use a lot of Korean products.
1) Double cleanse with Clean It Zero.
2) Rinse with Alba Botanica cleansing milk.
3) Apply Pai rosehip oil.
4) Slather COSRX snail cream.
5) Last, use COSRX honey sleep mask.
1) Cleanse with Mizon snail cleanser.
2) Then apply COSRX Galactomyces whitening serum.
3) Then Aloe Derma moisturizer.
4) Then COSRX aloe sunscreen.
Then it pretty much ends there. I’m super lazy when it comes to makeup.
What’s your fave cult beauty product?
Pai rosehip oil is the best. It’s a natural vitamin A oil and does amazing stuff. I hoard it!
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Online shopping and watching the Kardashians.
Do you remember the first major fashion piece you bought?
It was 1986. Gucci satin slippers for the bedroom—so not practical. But it was a beautiful shade of green satin and I fell in love with them.
How would you describe your wardrobe today?
Definitely a mix. Very high-low in terms of price and style. Some basics, and then some fun, whimsical stuff. Lots of grays and whites and then some color.
What styles do you find yourself turning to more often now?
Pieces with a lot whimsy; those that resonate and with interesting details.
Do you think your style has changed from a decade ago?
Of course! My style constantly evolves. Now I have a better grasp of what I like and don’t like. And it’s fearless in the sense that I trust my instincts more.
How would you describe the style of young women today versus the style you grew up with?
More fearless, and there is more variety, which I think is great! Back then, it was more cookie-cutter. It was the ’80s, ahem! Everybody looked the same.
You were in Europe recently. How did the scene inspire you?
I enjoyed Paris tremendously. We spent eight days and we rented an apartment in the Marais. And all the stores were on sale so it was great! Paris is beautiful and the weather was great. Just taking in everything was very inspiring. We loved taking long breaks in the middle of the day—sitting in the gardens, sipping wine at cafés. It was so relaxing, and somehow you just imbibe the beauty of the city.
Do you look to street style or luxury labels to get a grasp of the zeitgeist?
It’s the fastest, easiest way to get the pulse of what’s out there. Your eye needs to see something new or noteworthy or design-oriented. That’s how designers thrive. You need to be visually fed every day. Some days you’re lucky and you get it locally, or you get it from another source like a beautiful art collection, but some days all you have is the worldwide web.
What was your last vacation purchase?
Quite a few block heels and flatforms, because I finally accepted the fact that I can’t walk in heels!
If price were no object, what are five things you’d buy today?
Probably jewelry. I love vintage designer pieces, like old Cartier, Van Cleef, Schlumberger, Bulgari.
You design for two labels, Natori and your own Two Chic. How do you differentiate their aesthetics?
Natori has a strong brand identity and knows its market very well. So it’s not hard to work within those parameters.
Two Chic is more personal. It’s a vision my sister Ana and I share. We just love clothes with interesting details. We love embroidery and tassels and pom-poms and beadwork. And we love to put it on modern everyday pieces. We love the idea of “everyday luxury.” It’s really what Two Chic is about.
What are the Natori pieces we should be investing in?
Anything with embroidery, like our silk robes and caftans, because our embroidery is just amazing. We have an amazing team in Manila that plays with embroidery day in and day out! Also, anything with lace, because Mrs. Natori handpicks all the lace. And the patterns are really pretty.
What does your latest collection for Two Chic look like?
We are doing a lot of patched embroidery on easy tops. A lot of tassels and hand-cut fringe on tops and dresses. Skirts are important now, so lots of novelty skirts.
Who would you love to dress?
I love my clients. I have a good-sized, loyal clientele and I love dressing them up. All of them. They get me, they get the brand. They keep coming back. It’s all good.
As a woman of the world, what’s your take on people who wear fake?
It’s a hollow feeling, because there is no satisfaction in wearing something fake.
What should a woman never be caught dead in?
No rules. Wear whatever you want.
What’s your pet peeve as a designer?
There’s a rash of Instagram accounts that claim local designers copy international designers. But is it right to say that Valentino invented the embroidered lace dress, or that Rosie Assoulin set the tone for oversized blouses, or that Oscar dela Renta created the off-shoulder gown? Surely these things existed before. What’s your take on it?
True. Nothing is new. But it’s how these designers make it important and desirable for the moment that makes them own the look, that makes it “theirs.” For example, it could be in the way they style it, or the way they tweak it or how they present the proportions… It’s easy to be carried away by what’s trending. It takes a lot of discipline to stick to your own aesthetics.
Is there a designer you admire at present?
Dries van Noten: the way he mixes patterns and colors. His translations of embroidery are cool.
Toni Maticevski: his pieces are like art!
Rick Owens: his designs are so organic and artful.
What do you do to get inspired?
Stay home and relax and, by the end of the day, I’m sketching.
Do you have muses or women who you look up to in terms of style?
I am definitely attracted to women who show a little irreverence toward fashion. They don’t take it too seriously. I love it when there is a bit of nonchalance thrown in.
I love LSD (Lauren Santo Domingo). She is so chic! Jenna Lyons, the mix master. Leandra Medine aka Man Repeller, definitely a witty dresser.
When you die, what would you like to be buried in?
Good question. White cotton pajamas.
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