Adam Lippes floral embroidered point d'esprit dress. (Photo by Dan Lecca)
Adam Lippes "Rohuna" floral hand-printed dress. (Photo by Dan Lecca)
Adam Lippes white cotton poplin shirt, "Rohuna" floral silk quilted jacket, dark grey English wool herringbone pegged pant. (Photo by Dan Lecca)
Adam Lippes black bouclé column gown. (Photo by Dan Lecca)
Adam Lippes mint silk chiffon with metallic jacquard pleated dress. (Photo by Dan Lecca)
Adam Lippes gold ribbed knit top, black bouclé cummerbund trouser. (Photo by Dan Lecca)
Adam Lippes "Rohuna" floral silk chiffon and Chantilly lace dress. (Photo by Dan Lecca)
Adam Lippes ivory embroidered Chantilly lace turtleneck, ivory embroidered Chantilly lace gathered skirt, double face zibeline cashmere coat. (Photo by Dan Lecca)
Adam Lippes highlighter orange organza dress. (Photo by Dan Lecca)
Adam Lippes grey chevron silk twill blouse, black Chantilly lace turtleneck, black bouclé jacket, dark grey English wool herringbone skirt. (Photo by Dan Lecca)
Adam Lippes "Rohuna" floral silk and and metallic jacquard hooded coat, grey chevron silk twill bow blouse, grey chevron silk twill and chiffon pieced and pleated skirt. (Photo by Dan Lecca)
NEW YORK — A lot of designers have cut back their presence at New York Fashion Week, but Adam Lippes took a different route. He staged his first-ever full-scale runway show to unveil his fall collection at the trendy new brasserie Veronika, with a lavish breakfast for guests, served by waiters at individual tables covered in crisp white tablecloths as models circulated in the Renaissance Revival surroundings.
Amid the fashion week chaos it was all so civilized and set the tone for the 47-year-old designer’s belief that it’s so nice to look good without dressing down.
Even at the relatively early hour of 9 am, the restaurant was packed with a well-heeled, well-appointed crowd. No sweats, yoga pants, jeans or sneakers. These are the ladies who breakfast and appreciate a well-cut dress, nicely-crafted hooded coat, or exquisitely tailored slacks.
“Our customer doesn’t want to be sexy but she doesn’t mind being sensual,” Lippes told Women’s Wear Daily columnist Bridget Foley. “She wants to be appropriate. That’s a very big thing in America at least, this idea of appropriateness.”
Lippes is a darling of the fashion press because he still does things the old-fashioned way. He worked at Ralph Lauren and then at Oscar de la Renta, where he was creative director and learned from the master how to create beautifully-made clothes that aren’t boring.
Lippes’ latest collection is loosely inspired on a magical day he spent with Italian author and horticulturist Umberto Pasti at his garden in Rohuna, Morocco. The experience is reflected in striking floral print dresses, coats and quilted jackets, goddess gowns in soft green and pale pink, and blouses with removable Chantilly lace collars.
The collection is rounded out with practical, wearable items like crisp herringbone blazers, blouses with bell sleeves and bolero jackets in luxurious fabrics.
In honor of his friend Pasti, Lippes is donating a portion of sales from the collection to Rohuna to support water, sanitation and education projects in the Moroccan city.
Lippes also is working toward more sustainability in his fashion line, using just about every bit of fabric he buys, not making excess garments, and producing the line in New York to reduce the carbon footprint.
Among Lippes’ biggest fans is Houstonian Courtney Sarofim, who is a major investor in the designer’s business. In the Women’s Wear column, she talks at length about her friendship with Lippes, whom she originally met through her sister-in-law, Allison Sarofim. She praised his designs, which are luxurious but easy to wear, and fit into the lifestyle that she and her friends experience.
“I know that for women like myself who work, who are also doing some philanthropic stuff, we’re super involved with our kids, you sort of run the gamut,” Sarofim says. “A lot of us still — we want to get dressed. We don’t want to be dressed and uncomfortable with lots of bells and whistles and things to tie and snap, but we want to be wearing luxurious fabrics.
“It’s not for the whole world to know how luxurious our fabrics are but so that we feel good, we feel comfortable.
“I sit in my office in a pair of Adam pants and one of his cashmere sweaters and I know that I can go just about anywhere. I don’t want to wear my exercise clothes around town. Not everyone does.”