10 Minutes with: Designer Adam Lippes
April 28, 2015
Pieces that endure the test of time and transition seamlessly from morning meetings to evening cocktails are a homerun that only a few designers manage to achieve. Adam Lippes knocks it out of the park. Though his brand in only two years old, Lippes is a fashion industry veteran, having worked for both Polo Ralph Lauren and Oscar de la Renta—the latter for eight years, ultimately as creative director.
His eponymous collection carries no obvious reference to those iconic brands, but a sense of luxury stems from the garments’ construction and fabrics, which are beautiful from the inside out. An art collector himself (there’s a Motherwell in his Greenwich Village apartment and a Dash Snow in his Berkshires retreat), Lippes fills his work with artistic and cultural references. But the collection is effortlessly wearable—from a perfectly tailored pantsuit and sleeveless jacket to a minimalist, tassel-detailed racerback gown and statement-making coat fringed entirely in silk tassels. There’s no defined demographic to his clothes, as they are all about complementing the busy life of the modern woman.
We spoke to Lippes from his New York studio to learn more about his spring collection (now in stores and online) and how he envisions his namesake brand growing in the seasons to come.
NM: Tell us about your Spring 2015 collection.
AL: I’ve always really loved North African textiles and fabrics, and at an auction I found a Moroccan rug that has the most beautiful pattern on it. It led me to research more on North African textiles and the culture. We hand-drew the print from that original rug and used it on the striped, mixed-print long kaftan.
NM: Do you produce all your textiles in the U.S.?
AL: All of our fabrics come from France and Italy, and we sew everything in New York. Our embroidery is done in India.
NM: What’s your idea of a modern woman and how she gets dressed every morning?
AL: She works, she’s busy, she has a family, she wants to be dressed-up, and she wants to be refined, but she also wants to be comfortable. She really appreciates the finishing and the luxury of our fabrics, and she knows and really understands quality. From our collection, she’s buying pieces that she knows are relevant today, but also can take her forward.
NM: What did you learn from working at Oscar de la Renta and Ralph Lauren that you are carrying on with your own collection?
AL: I learned a lot from my past experiences, but what I really wanted to make sure to have here, is for the clothes to be very wearable and not at all “costume-y.”
NM: Tell us about the key pieces in your spring collection.
AL: I love the kaftan. It’s a really easy piece. But there are a lot of easy pieces, so there’s a great ease in the collection. The flame-red color was really important to me, too, and so was the mix of the lace with the crepe, to create a very dressed-up but comfortable silhouette.
NM: What elements of spring are you translating into the Fall 2015 collection?
AL: Our silhouette stays very much the same. It’s a very soft silhouette, long and easy. A lot of the fabrics carry over from season to season. Satin-back crepe is a fabric that we use again and again.
NM: How would you describe your relationship with your clients?
AL: I do a lot of trunk shows, in fact, I was in one last week in Palm Beach. At least once a month I’m in the stores meeting customers, either for a trunk show or an event. Your best critics are always the customers, of course.
NM: How is your personality reflected in the collection?
AL: These are fun pieces, wearable pieces, but there’s nothing that screams out, and I think that’s very much the ethos of who I am as a person. To me, it’s important that you are in clothes that make you feel good and look good and are comfortable and beautiful. And by beautiful, I mean they fit perfectly, they are luxurious in the fabrics and the sewing. Those are qualities that I appreciate as a consumer, and I really want to give that back with the work that we do here.
NM: They are perfect to transition from day to night.
AL: I think that’s how people live. Even for me, I go to work and go to a dinner directly after work. I don’t go home to do a full change. And the same goes for the women I work with.