Adam Lippes

Tonie Ong

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Articles on Adam Lippes

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One of the rarest, and at times, most inspirational, kinds of stories in the fashion industry is a comeback story. The legendary Coco Chanel did it when she reopened her famous couture salons after the Second World War and introduced reintroduced the Chanel Suit. It also happened to Yves Saint Laurent, who put up his own couture house after he was fired from Dior after some unsuccessful collections. For such a discriminating press, it’s difficult for a designer to bounce back up, more so if your first round of the game was already memorable. Yet for Adam Lippes, he decided to do just that.

This American designer did the unthinkable, which is to step down from his already-successful fashion business and establish a whole new one a few years later. It was a story unheard of in fashion lore, yet to this day, Lippes’s brand exists and is one of the most stable fashion businesses in the United States. It stands on the contemporary level, one that is slightly below luxury designer brands, like Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors, but still a notch higher than high street brands like Zara and Topshop. Lippes’s clothes both have the quality and the design value of a high fashion brand but its price points near towards the more affordable, making it a substantially-lucrative business.

Who is Adam Lippes

American Designer Adam Lippes

Born on December 24, 1972, Adam Lippes was the son of lawyer Gerald S. Lippes and nurse Sandra Franger-Lippes. He grew up in Buffalo, New York, where he graduated from Nichols School and studied Psychology at Cornell University afterwards. However, his passion for fashion and art started in the 1990’s when he studied art history and architecture at the American University in Paris, France.

In 1995, he got his first job in the industry working at Polo by Ralph Lauren. This is where he first started designing clothes with some of the finest materials in the world, as Ralph Lauren’s clothes were known for. By the time he transferred to Oscar De La Renta, he was already a creative director, right under the legendary Dominican designer himself. During that time, in his 20’s, he was one of the youngest working-creative directors in the entire industry. He worked in De La Renta for seven years, venturing into other departments such as merchandising, marketing, and further business development. In 2003, he exited the company to start his plans of putting up his own fashion business, which he would establish the following year in 2004.

ADAM+EVE to Adam Lippes

Adam Lippes RTW Spring 2017
Adam Lippes RTW Spring 2017

He launched his first collection of cotton basics called ADAM+EVE, which was met with critical and commercial acclaim. Legendary TV host Oprah Winfrey even included his brand as one of her “favorite things”, which paved the way for investors to help Lippes elevate his label. Funded by the Atelier Fund, part of the Switzerland-based Compagnie Richemont luxury holdings company, Lippes ventured into contemporary fashions under the brand name, ADAM. The label earned considerable success, even becoming one of the key highlights of New York Fashion Week starting in 2007. That same year, Lippes himself was inducted in the famous Council of Fashion Designers of America, establishing him and his brand as significant players in American fashion.

Because of such overwhelming demand, Lippes eventually exited his own company in the early 2010’s, when it was sold to Kellwood company. In 2013, he legally bought back his name and founded what is now Adam Lippes. The brand focuses on relaxed American sportswear, made with fine materials and textiles, and is of the highest quality. The approach of this brand is also more fashion-forward than ADAM, where basics were more the focal point. In Adam Lippes, a number of trends can be seen among its many high-quality pieces. Although, similarly to ADAM, the price points remain to be lower than those of the normal luxury brands.

His use of textile is regarded to be some of the best in any American fashion house and is often the selling point in many of his designs. It’s also quite varied, from harder ones like denim, tweed, and chambray, to softer fabrics like cashmere and charmeuse silk. While his silhouettes don’t change as much, especially compared to his design contemporaries, the mixing and matching of textiles and prints are what makes the brand exciting and refreshing.

A lot of celebrities have also been seen wearing Adam Lippes, such as Chrissy Teigen, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and Kelly Rowland. Blake Lively even wore the brand many times when she was on the hit CW TV series, Gossip Girl. There was even an instance where a tailored white jacket-dress with black buttons from the label’s 2015 pre-fall collection was worn twice on the red carpet, once by Kerry Washington during the 40th anniversary of SNL, and the other by Cheryl Fernandez-Versini during run of the reality show, X Factor, of which Fernandez-Versini was a judge.

For now, Adam Lippes remains to be one of the most understated fashion brands in the US. It may not be the most buzzed-about among the fashion press, but it has survived the test of time in the very fickle fashion industry. Even though it has a rich and one-of-a-kind history behind it, the label just lets its high-quality pieces speak for themselves.

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