Adam Lippes is spending a lot of time in Texas. He’s set to open his second-ever store in Houston in October, the first of 18 openings planned for the next five years, and last Friday he was in Dallas, where he was the guest designer at Neiman Marcus’s annual Crystal Charity Ball and fashion show. It meant he missed the chance to put his new spring collection on the runway in New York, but why not go where the customers are? He told Vogue Business that 15% of his client base lives in the Lone Star State.
Lippes has long made store visits part of his business plan. Earlier this year he was on the road more than not, and at a showroom appointment before his trip he said they’re as much listening tours as they are about selling. “I kept hearing my customers say, ‘your clothes make me feel so good,’ so we drilled in on that in the studio, asking ourselves how to keep giving them that feeling, how we keep creating what they call their ‘go-to’ pieces,” he said.
The answer starts with fabrics, like the double-face silk duchesse from Taroni of a trapeze; the Belgian linen of a timeless shirtdress; the Chantilly lace of an evening number, pleated and gathered and hand-smocked at the waist; or the vibrant madras of a three-piece set consisting of a camp shirt, a bandeau top, and a smocked waist skirt (madras being a budding trend at NYFW). The floral motif on a silk crepe skirt was inspired by Danish wallpaper and painted by hand in Lippes’s studio: “It’s a super old-fashioned way of doing things,” he said, delighting in the fact. It will be screen-printed in production.
In the showroom, a table stacked with knits was especially tempting, from the loftiest hand-knit cashmere sweaters to charming crocheted shift dresses to slinky silk and metal thread ribbed slips. On the runway, the spirit of the collection was fancier than usual. Lippes said it was because of the setting in which it was shown, and indeed one of the best-sellers was a strapless mint green gown with sprays of flowers hand-embroidered neckline to hem with beads and crystals. “There’s no price resistance for anything unique and special,” he said.
That goes for Texas and beyond, presumably, and he didn’t leave his New Yorkiest clients out of the conversation—see the black radzimir tuxedo worn with a quilted silk vest at the end of this slideshow.