By  on October 16, 2007

CHICAGO — Never underestimate the power of Oprah.

Adam Lippes, creative director of Adam Adam Lippes, found that out when one eight-minute appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" last spring resulted in some $500,000 in sales in a week — half his annual projected Internet sales.

"It was huge for us," said Lippes, whom Winfrey noted was responsible for making one of her favorite white V-neck T-shirts. "It was one of the biggest events of my life."

So when Lippes appeared at Neiman Marcus on Michigan Avenue this month, the designer, who recently celebrated his first runway show at New York Fashion Week, acknowledged Winfrey and the Windy City.

"Chicago has a really fond place in my heart," Lippes told about 100 people during his appearance, which raised about $2,000 for Y.E.S! Dress for Success. Lippes said Winfrey still orders and pays for the V-neck T-shirt, and he often encounters people who recognize him from the show in airports. "People really listen to her," he said.

After a short fashion presentation, women scoured the racks for Lippes' fall designs, with many purchasing Adam dresses for $265 to $595.

Lippes, who said Neiman's is one of his top accounts, is enjoying greater visibility after a financial boost from The Atelier Fund, whose principal investor is Compagnie Financière Richemont SA. The group recently invested a reported $9.5 million for a 35 percent stake in the brand. He also is opening his first freestanding store in Manhattan's Meatpacking District and launching a Web site,; both are set to be unveiled on Nov. 23.

The Web site will "take e-commerce to another level," Lippes said, adding that it will include a lot of animation, a blog, information on Lippes' favorite places, restaurants and books, along with the ability for shoppers to post their thoughts and mix and match apparel items.

Lippes, however, still believes freestanding stores are the best way to showcase his collection. Along with opening his 2,500-square-foot New York space, which also is expected to carry handbags and belts, the designer is scouting sites in Los Angeles and London.His decision to look abroad was bolstered by favorable reaction to his fashion week runway debut. Lippes said he received calls from retailers in Spain, Turkey and Greece.

Strong sellers from the spring line include the collection's stretch denim and light cotton wide-leg pants, both retailing for $285; a hand-painted silk cinched-waist dress for $465, and a long bright pink one-shoulder crinkled chiffon dress for $495.

Lippes produces both women's and men's wear, with the former accounting for 85 percent of sales.

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