By  on June 13, 2007

NEW YORK — Adam Lippes, founder, creative director and chief executive officer of adampluseve, is thinking big when it comes to retail.

In September, Lippes plans to open his first freestanding store at 678 Hudson Street in the heart of Manhattan's Meatpacking District. The 2,500- square-foot space will house the entire adampluseve collection for women and men. More stores are planned in Los Angeles, London and Miami within the next few years.

"I have been thinking about opening a store since we started, so saying this is a dream of mine is an understatement," Lippes said. He added that when the brand was launched four years ago, he came close — lease in hand — to signing for a retail space on 14th Street, but decided to go the wholesale route first.

The adampluseve brand is now sold in more than 200 better department and specialty stores, including Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Holt Renfrew. With the line established at wholesale, Lippes said it was time to open a freestanding location, which he designed with architect Filipe Pereira.

"Filipe is like me, a young guy, just starting out, but with great experience, having worked for [architect] Zaha Hadid," Lippes said.

The store will feature an eclectic mix of materials, from hand-glazed tiles to reclaimed barn wood, he said. There will be modern furniture — some of which will be for sale — and a small garden visible through floor-to-ceiling windows spanning the back of the store. Racks of clothes will surround the perimeter of the store, with a T-shirt bar in the middle and a built-in armoire against a wall. Lippes plans small lounge areas near the dressing rooms as well as in the center of the space.

"I really want this to be a place where people can come in, sit, hang out and discover something," he explained. "There will be great music and books to check out, and those, too, will be for sale. This will be a place that I would want to live in, and trust me, when the store opens, I will be there all the time."Lippes said he is in talks with local galleries to work with artists to create some paintings for the store. In addition, he plans to test some exclusive items, such as a small handbag line and possibly the Christian Louboutin shoes with which he typically likes to show the collection.

Adampluseve got a financial boost this year when Marty Wikstrom and Dawn Mello in February created an investment vehicle called The Atelier Fund, whose principal investor is Compagnie Financière Richemont SA. Its first investments included the adampluseve brand. Sources said Atelier paid about $9.5 million for a 35 percent stake in the brand, an investment that will help to expand wholesale and freestanding retail businesses worldwide.

The adampluseve collection retails from $40 for a T-shirt to about $1,000 for a coat or highly detailed dress. Lippes estimated that the store would reach $4 million in sales by the end of its first full year.

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