Adam Lippes doesn’t know this about our friendship, but when I am around him the iconic song “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better” from Annie Get Your Gun taunts me in my head. For example, I’ll buy linen napkins for the first time and feel very proud of myself for being such a grown up, but then go to Adam’s house for a dinner party to find that he has linen napkins that have been beautifully hand stitched with every guests’ initials. Or I’ll look upon my Japanese plate collection with pride, but then remember Adam’s vintage glass and cup collection and develop a complex. But, after several years of a wonderful friendship, I’ve surrendered to the fact that Adam really can do it better than me because he’s just, well, the unbeatable chicest.
Adam’s vintage glasses and cup collection is a particular point of envy because I know I would never have the patience to assemble or even the know-how to put together. I put a toe in a vintage store, or click into a site like eBay, and immediately my entire body inflames with annoyance and impatience (the chaos! the choices!). But Adam somehow can sort through all the clutter and chachkies to hone in on the treasures – HOW?!?! I recently fessed up to my “cup covet-ry” to him and he offered to give me all his tips on how to find the gems without spending a fortune and assemble a one-of-a-kind collection of charming mismatched perfection. Now that I know his tips, once I smash my way through my Amazon purchased glasses, I am going to be just like Adam.
Elettra: OK so, I immediately get impatient when I enter vintage stores and/or look at sites, like eBay. How do you cut through the “noise” and hone in on the treasures?
Adam Lippes: You need to learn what you want to search for and the key words that will bring up those searches. Start at auction houses and 1stdibs, then keep refining the search terms until you hit gold with eBay.
Elettra: Out of all your vintage glasses, which ones are your most favorite and why?
Adam Lippes: It is a bit hit and miss. Sometimes you buy a set and are super excited and then they show up and they aren’t exactly what you had in mind. Remember to measure – scale is impossible to tell in photos! My favorites are probably these short but wide blue ones with simple navy enamel trimming. I didn’t have high hopes for when I ordered them, but when they arrived and I fell in love. And a year later, I found five more!
Elettra: Your glasses are all so different looking, but they all fit together collectively. How do you accomplish that? What is some “style advise” you can give on mixing and matching home decor?
Adam Lippes: Believe in your own sense of style/taste and then don’t over think it. If you buy what you like — what speaks to you — you’ll be surprised how well they fit together.
Elettra: Let’s say I have a budget of $100 to buy 5 people really great holiday gifts. What would your advice be to buy a some really special, really cool presents (new or vintage)?
Adam Lippes: Gift buying can be hard, especially for people who have everything. I have found everyone likes pieces which are custom made. I know the most amazing porcelain producer in Milan — Labatorio Paravicini — who will design even one small plate with interwoven initials and decorated with your friend’s favorite scenes. Who wouldn’t love that?!
Elettra: I have purchased stuff on Etsy and eBay that seems like a great idea, but then when I receive it I am like, “YUCK!” I have a feeling this never happens to you. How do you avoid that?!
Adam Lippes: Part of the game! You win some/you lose some. That’s what happens when buying online, as you cant see the pieces first. Ive tried to make a rule — if the piece is above a certain dollar amount I MUST see it in person. But sometimes i do break that rule, and I’ve been thrilled and disappointed – but that’s all part of it!