The Quintessential “Designer’s Designer,” Adam Lippes
In conversation with Adam Lippes and our founder Brian Bolke.
I first knew of Adam Lippes in the early 2000s when he opened a beautiful store in New York’s Meatpacking district filled with his signature t-shirts and beautiful vintage finds – two of my personal passions.
I bought a whimsical sculpture there (wrestling bear cubs in Italian ceramic from the 70’s) that to this day is one of my favorite possessions and lives in a place of honor in my home. So I consider us “connected”.
Fast forward 15 years and I still feel connected… we have become good friends personally and professionally and share a passion for great people, harmless gossip, and silly laughter. I’m also very jealous of all his homes and how he makes it all look effortless.
Very few people I know have his love of life, and happiness that I know comes from a place of gratefulness… as well as sharp wit and biting sense of humor. He’s also paid his dues, so to speak, and deserves all his success. And I think both of us have our phones attached to our palms….his text response time is mere seconds.
Ahead of his visit to Dallas, I peppered him with a list of questions…
Brian Bolke: You LOVE Dallas, and Dallas loves you… what connects you to the city?
Adam Lippes: Well first off, it was you. You created the magic of Dallas for me the first time I came by hosting one of your famous lunches on McKinney shortly after I launched the brand. That day I met many of your friends who have become mine, and over the years they’ve shown me a Dallas I’ve fallen in love with.
BB: I know what makes you successful is you love what you do, and you love women, and are not afraid to work very hard, one on one, to understand them and dress them beautifully. Where did this “love” come from?
AL: It’s a combination. Foremost from my mother. She had a simple yet serenely luxurious style that had an indelible effect on what I do. She was also an interior designer, so “style” was something that was a part of our relationship. And then Oscar refined that.
BB: You got your start with the legendary Oscar de la Renta, becoming design director, at a very young age. What was the most important thing you learned from Oscar?
AL: I like to say Mr. de la Renta refined what I learned growing up, like a finishing school. He taught about fabric, construction and about creating clothes for a woman, not a girl. “A trend is like an actor, only as good as their last film.” In such a hyper self important industry, he also kept what we did, designing, in perspective. You would never hear Oscar talk about “fashion” at a dinner, there is much more to life
BB: You are for sure a survivor in a business that can be brutal… what is your secret? And any regrets or a “do over” you wish you had?
AL: When I launched this brand about 6 years old, everyone said I was crazy. I had sold my first brand, made it out alive, and why wasn’t I going to move to Brazil and hide? Well, design is in my blood. And the reason I’ve survived, even in this craziness, is owed to the women whom we dress. I design for these women, not for the red carpet, not for the press. I try very hard to block out the distractions of this business and focus on them, because they are truly all the matter.
BB: Now, some “CV” questions…
Ultimate dinner party table? AL: My mother, Jesus, Ghandi, Winston Churchill, Barack Obama, Eva Peron, David Attenborough, and Chris Rock
Wine: Red, white, or rosé? AL: RED
Vacation: Mediterranean, Caribbean or New England? AL: Mediterranean
Cuisine: Italian, Mexican or French? AL: French
Decade: 60’s, 70’s, 80’s? AL: 60s
Fabric: Cashmere, silk or linen? AL: Cashmere
Awards Show: Grammy, Oscar, or Tony? AL: None
Favorite meal: Breakfast, lunch or dinner? AL: Dinner