Elegance isn’t dead. Nor must it be formal and fussy. That’s the premise from which Adam Lippes approaches fashion, and it’s working. Lippes’ e-commerce was up 300 percent last year and he expects a similar multiple this year. In addition, he’s made significant inroads with key bricks-and-mortar accounts, in part by an intense schedule of “stock shows.” “It’s like a trunk show, only I take 100 pieces of clothing and they can buy right there, because no store can buy the breadth of your collection. And I meet this woman I spend so much time with this woman.”
That customer, he said, “is not a streetwear woman. She still likes to be refined and elegant and dressed up. But she likes to have sense of ease.” This season he was inspired by one woman in particular, Deeda Blair. A friend introduced the two, and Lippes was smitten, finding Blair highly cultured and with exacting standards yet relaxed and “not old-school fancy.”
He churned that combination in his mind and came up with an impressive collection grounded in practical sportswear — beautifully cut pieces, often in chic men’s wear fabrics or rich double-face. Lippes made the look anything but standard, delivering flamboyance in odd, interesting ways: A tuxedo jacket and “double trench” (actually layered coats) each flaunted a mile-long stretch of fringe in back that zips off for practicality’s sake; a men’s wear plaid dress with asymmetric skirt was shown with over-the-know purple satin boots. Sweaters ranged from faux-homespun (dusty-hued, geometric intarsia cashmere over a school-marm knit skirt) — to modernist power woman, sprouting feathers on its sleeves and layered over a floral shirt and amply cut trousers. A sense of daring came as well in voluminous dresses, both short and long. Either way, the epitome of easy elegance.