“Cultures express beauty so differently,” says Fiona Cibani, Creative Director of Ports 1961. “Really anything can touch me. Those things you expect to affect you of course, like the palette of a painting or a detail in local architecture, but also less obvious elements like the metalwork in everyday objects or the way two colors merge in daylight. Something can be so humble but so beautiful when it’s interpreted in the right way. I find inspiration everywhere, from Paris to Mongolia and every place in between.”
Born to Italian/Turkish parents, and raised in Vancouver, Cibani grew up in a multi-cultural mosaic. From a young age, she developed an interest in fashion design, especially once she began helping her father run the family clothing boutique.
In fact, Cibani has always been focused and her upbringing encouraged her to value hard work. Inspired perhaps by her mother’s fixation on altering her own wardrobe at home – she would add flare to a skirt or change the proportions of a dress – Cibani began taking sewing classes in fifth grade. “I was the only child there,” she remembers with a smile. “But I always knew what I wanted to do.”
She also remembers being very well dressed as a child in the early 1970’s, and from these early beginnings, fashion became an obsession for Cibani: “The children in my family were always dressed impeccably. I was a big fan of New Wave and even wore my hair like Duran Duran. I loved every trend and wore them all!”
After studying fashion and design in Toronto and at Parsons in New York, she joined Ports where she began her career under Dean and Dan Caten, joint Creative Directors at Ports during the 1980’s and 1990’s. Today, with an instinctive appreciation of fine fabrics, silhouettes, color and a keen eye for detail, Cibani’s creative influence shapes the collections at every level, and her passion for design reaches into all aspects of the Ports brand.
Although the world of fashion and design is a fast-moving and dynamic one, Fiona is clear on her direction for Ports: “Color is first for me absolutely – it is so important”, she says emphatically, “but a sense of style is what creates luxury. Style and sophistication through design and the careful selection of luxurious fabrics, woven by the world’s best artisans”. When asked about who she is designing for, Fiona says, “the Ports 1961 man and woman have always embodied quality, taste and elegance – both are confident in who they are, and possess an ageless spirit.” When pressed on her inspiration for the Ports 1961 woman’s aesthetic, she simply replies, “I have a career, a family and love travel, art and adventure… I am designing for myself.”