Fashion / Style

Adam Lippes Makes the Comeback He Didn’t Know He Wanted to Make — Houston Favorite Embraces a New Moment

Making Fashion Beautiful Again

BY // 10.08.21

NEW YORK — It’s been more than 18 months since Adam Lippes staged a fashion show, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to do it again. Lippes, whose collection of elevated sportswear is a favorite of well-dressed women, likes to show his new work in an intimate setting with a small group of friends and the fashion press. He obviously couldn’t do that with the pandemic still lingering, but a lavish runway presentation at New York Fashion Week didn’t feel right either.

He changed his mind after his good friend, the legendary former Women’s Wear Daily columnist Bridget Foley, told him: “You need to be part of the conversation, especially now. This is about New York coming back and it’s important you’re part of the conversation.”

“And I thought, ‘You’re so right.’ That was the seed for doing our biggest show ever,” Lippes says.

He reached out to Brookfield Properties, the landlord of his boutique in downtown Manhattan, about staging a show in the mall’s Winter Garden and “they loved the idea,” Lippes says. “We still served breakfast and we still made it a nice way to start your day. We want to make fashion still be a nice beautiful experience. That’s the point of the brand so I wanted the show to reflect that as well.”

Guests sat in the soaring glass atrium with views overlooking the Hudson River at tables with starched white tableclothes and baskets of pastries, coffee and juice, as they got a close-up glimpse of the collection.

“Every single look was beautiful and there was an amazing energy in the room, which I think everyone has missed,” says Courtney Lanier Sarofim, a close friend and investor who attended the show with Houston pals Aliyya Stude, Jenny Kempner and Lisa Eades.

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For his latest collection, Lippes showcased a lovely collection of intricately embroidered florals based on his collaboration with Dutch couturier Natasja Sadi, whom he became obsessed with after seeing her work on Instagram. Sadi was hesitant at first, but they set up an online meeting “and we basically fell in love over Zoom,” Lippes notes.

Lippes reimagined Sadi’s florals on silk duchesse and Japanese cotton twill, created her sugar flowers in sequins on an oversized cotton crewneck knit and hand painted a pattern inspired by her collection of delftware, which was printed and pleated on silk chiffon. His “vase” dress features a mix of threadwork and cutouts on ivory Irish linen and took embroiderers two weeks to complete.

Adam Lippes spring summer 22 collection at New York Fashion Week
Adam Lippes embroidered ivory linen vase dress. (Photo courtesy of Adam Lippes)

He also created hand-embroidered lace over collars and cut out menswear shirts from an antique Dutch bonnet sampler. Fabrics include railroad stripe denim, cut in camisole tops and knee patch pants, solid silks upcycled in bright yellow, and shocking pink and luxe wool crepes in bold green. Gold floral jewelry, featuring hand cast painted lily of the valley and zinnias, handmade in Rhode Island, accented many of the looks.

“The centerpiece of the collection is those inspirations and collaborations for him. But there was also a ton of really wearable beautiful things that you would love to step out in,” Sarofim says.  “And the gowns were mind-blowing.”

While there are many daytime separates in the collection, Lippes included more evening wear because he says that is what his customer is telling him she wants.

“We’re an American sportswear brand. However my history with Oscar (de la Renta —where Lippes served as creative director from 1996 to 2003) , I did tons and tons and tons of evening,” he says. “And I’m doing so much custom evening for women. It’s incredible. So I’m going to start showing more evening because our customer wants it from us. And it’s certainly in our wheelhouse.

“I don’t want to be a red carpet brand. I want to be a brand of clothing that our customer goes into day in and day out. But she’s asking for evening from us, so here we are.”

Adam Lippes’ Return to Fashion Fun

Adam Lippes is thrilled to be on the road again meeting with customers in 16 cities.

“It’s been a real loss for me during the pandemic not to be able to get out and meet with sales people who sell the clothes so they can really understand the collection and work directly with the customer to meet her and explain the same thing,” he says. “I’ve learned a lot on the road from these women, what they need, what they want, what they’re wearing, what they don’t want. And that’s been a very important education for me.”

What has he learned from his customers lately?

“Our customer wants to dress up, now more than before,” Lippes says. “There is something about clothing that lets people dream a bit. They put on a dress and they look good. They smile. And they feel good again. Our customer really wants to feel good again. She doesn’t want any sweatpants.”

Lippes will travel to Houston for a personal appearance at the Neiman Marcus Galleria store on November 16 to 17.

“I’m so excited to be back to what I consider a second home,” he says. “I haven’t been to Houston since before the pandemic, so I’m really thrilled to be back.”

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