Interview with Adam Lippes
Adam Lippes in conversation with Renata Certo-Ware of Untouchable
Renata Certo-Ware: How did the transition from ADAM + EVE to ADAM to now Adam Lippes evolve?
Adam Lippes: We originally started as a t-shirt brand when I was still with Oscar de la Renta. I was on Oprah for the t-shirts, and the business grew very quickly and investors came in - Richemont, the brand that owns Cartier and Chloé. The decision was made to launch a contemporary line under ADAM, and we grew the business to about 500 stores, we had five of our own stores. And then, I sold my shares and they sold their shares. Frankly I was making clothes I wasn’t that proud of.
RCW: What werent you proud of?
AL: I didn’t set out to be in the contemporary world, I didn’t want to work with synthetics and produce overseas and places that weren’t—I wanted to make beautiful clothes that a woman can have in her wardrobe and keep for a long time, so I decided to quit. It was a very hard decision to quit my own brand — well, they owned it — and I spent the next year and half working to buy it back. I bought it back and launched designer, which is what we have now.
RCW: What is your favorite store in the whole world (besides Nordstrom obvi)
AL: I love my friend’s store The Webster, there are two locations. Kirna Zabete — the owner, Beth, has a house here in Bryn Mawr. Besides the bigger stores, a lot of small specialty stores that are doing a great job. Forty Five Ten in Dallas — I’ll be there in a couple weeks!
RCW: So you’re transitioning into the cannibis business, too.
AL: I’m opening a store under a different business, nothing to do with this. I have a house in the Berkshire in Massachusetts, so I’m opening a retail shop there.
RCW: How is that going to interact with fashion in your personal life?
AL: It’s not.
RCW: Wha about in your head, as a business owner?
AL: It’s not. It’s not. It’s not.
RCW: You’re going to be two different people.
AL: It’s two different business. I’m involved in some other businesses as well so it’s more of an investment than an active day-to-day thing.
RCW: So how did you decide it was going to be the next move?
AL: It’s a big, fast-growing industry, and I have a house up there and it just became legal, so it seemed like a smart business thing to do.
RCW: What’s your style pet peeve?
AL: Laziness. In America at least, women have this concept that in order to be comfortable they have to look sloppy, not make an effort. That’s something generational now, I find that you can be comfortable and you don’t have to be constricted - I get it, heels and this and that - but you can be comfortable and dressed up and refined at the same time.
RCW: I have a lot of European friends that are so shocked by how we dress in the airport - we’re basically in pajamas. It’s weird because it seems like a lot of people are spending so much time on their faces and makeup - like, two hours to get the perfect contouring - and then they’re going out in sweatpants. It’s so odd.
AL: Really sloppy.
RCW: How have you seen Fashion Week change throughout the years?
I think it’s become less important in a big way. Now, there’s a dichotomy between either an immersive show, an event, and people who are just doing a show and you’re not so sure who it’s for. It used to be you did a show so the buyers could see it and important clients and the press, for the long-lead magazine. That’s all changed, because it’s now all online immediately - so the importance of showing on a runway show has died.
RCW: Do you think the instagram see-now, buy-now model is important or effective?
AL: There’s a reason why we show a collection and then it’s in stores six months later - it takes time to make. So a see-now, buy-now model means you have to have all the stock up front and show it, and so there’s still a reason to spend time on a collection before it’s all just produced and shown there.
RCW: You don’t get that feedback of what people are loving and what you should produce more of.
AL: There are people who can do a see-now, buy-now - if your show is more of a promotion and start showing the collection privately at first, which some people are doing and then spending more money, showing it more publicly when the collection is in store, that’s a smart way to do it.
RCW: If you could live in any era, any decade, what would it be?
AL: I think people who lived well in any era, it was good. But I’m pretty happy now.