I recently sat down with Adam Lippes at Neiman Marcus on Michigan Ave. to view the Spring 2010 collection for his line, ADAM. At 36 years old, Lippes has quite the resume. After graduating from Cornell with a degree in psychology and attending the American University in Paris to study art history and architecture, Lippes returned home to try a hand at what he was really passionate about: fashion. He began his career at Ralph Lauren before moving onto Oscar de la Renta where he quickly rose to Global Creative Director. Although his background is somewhat nontraditional, he brings a truly fresh approach to fashion’s contemporary market. Today Lippes has three of his own freestanding boutiques and his collection is featured in 300 other stores around the world.
BG: What is your definition of style?
BG: How would you define confidence?
AL: Having an air of strength about oneself.
BG: What is a perfect outfit for you?
AL: A white v-neck T-shirt, a pair jeans, a great belt, great shoes, and a great watch (he really likes Cartier).
BG: What is your fixation/obsession with the white T-shirt?
AL: The T-shirt is the foundation of my brand, and a white shirt and jeans is the foundation of American Sportswear. I walked into my first meeting with Oscar wearing a white v-neck T-shirt, a pair of dark skinny jeans, a great belt, great shoes, and a great watch. I didn’t know. I was just a kid. Oscar turned, looked at me and said, ‘Can everyone look at this new young man? He looks rich.’”
BG: What trend would you like to see disappear?
AL: I don’t like hard-edged clothes on women—the biker tough/rocker look—I like refinement.
AH: What was the biggest lesson you learned from Oscar de la Renta?
AL: To pay attention to how a woman feels in the garments I create. He refined my use of color, quality and my eye for style. He also taught me to give a garment a second chance. Not to hate it immediately, but to give it time. Don’t judge a piece at the first look.
AH: What was the biggest lesson you learned from Ralph Lauren?
AL: To do it right—period. He also taught me the beauty of marketing.
BG: How has the current economic situation affected your designs?
AL: I know the recession has hurt a lot of Americans, but our brand hasn’t been greatly affected. Our spring bookings are up 48% from last year. I think that the styles have been affected. Fashion has been the same for too long and I believe that now is a time of creativity. Designers are trying new things that have haven’t been seen or done before.
BG: Why have you decided to add the sizes 14 and 16 to your Spring 2010 collection?
AL: When I began my career in design, I wanted to recreate American sportswear. I love that it has a certain ‘sporty chic-ness’ and allows the customer the ability to mix and max the pieces. American Sportswear offers a certain wearability and fit—sizing is a huge aspect of this. There’s nothing worse than a woman who can’t wear something she loves because of sizing.
BG: I know you have a passion for philanthropy. Tell me about the organizations you are involved in.
AL: Art is my passion. I’m the co-chair of the Whitney Museum of American Art and a partner of the New York Humane Society- I have a love for animals. I own two labradoodles from Australia. I am also active in fundraising for the Sandra F. Lippes Foundation at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in honor of my late mother.
RB: If you could have lunch with anyone, alive or deceased, who would be sitting across the table from you?
AL: My Mother. She inspired my style and Oscar refined it.
BG: What is your single biggest fashion influence?
AL: Art- mid-century American artists; and people on the streets.
BG: If you could move fashion in a certain direction, where would you like to see it go?
AL: I’d like to see the whole fashion schedule turned upside down- have shows for consumers instead [of buyers and editors] and buy during the same season they are shown.
BG: Tell me something about yourself that would surprise me.
Thanks again to Adam Lippes for the great interview! Be sure to view his collection at ShopAdam.com!