Giberson's parents are artists. Her husband, Jon Widman, is a painter. She went to schools with art poo-bahs at Rhode Island School of Design. It’s no surprise that Giberson has an extremely artistic and decidely “arts-and-craftsy” approach to making clothing.
Tess Giberson launched her eponymous label in 2001.
Every article of clothing created by Tess Giberson is hand-sewn (using anachronistic sewing techniques to boot) with extreme attention to detail: stitching has been described as “calligraphic” and appliques are sewn in a “collagelike” fashion. Some of her pieces have even been painted by her husband. Time consuming? Yes. She sews all of the samples herself so collections can be very small.
The clothes were embraced by critics—the designer won an Ecco Domani in 2002—and avant-garde fashionistas but had minimal retail presence.
The independent label was shut down in 2005 when Giberson was hired as the head designer at TSE. She chose not to renew her contract with the cashmere label in 2008, however, and will be returning to her own line, which will tentatively debut (for the second time) for the fall 2009 season.
Though she employs soft fabrics and colors, make no mistake, her clothes are not limp. The camisoles, baby-dolls and pleated dresses—even with their prairie-like quality—can be very hip.