“This romper,” Piperlime’s director of design and trends Jamie Lewin said, while gesturing at her own outfit, “converted me into rompers.”
That’s not a small accomplishment, as anyone who’s struggled into a jumpsuit only to see their waistline disappear in a puff of surplus fabric will tell you.
It might help that Ms. Lewin designed this particular romper herself.
She is the brains behind Piperlime’s first-ever original clothing line, which debuted at a soirée at the brand’s Soho boutique on Friday, Sept. 5. Harley Viera-Newton DJed, Olivia Palermo made an appearance, and guests ogled the new Piperlime duds, goods from other designers, and the vintage Chanel bling that was resting in a display case in the center of the room.
Models stood on platforms modeling Piperlime’s new, original wares. It was refreshing to peruse boots and leather jackets after days of looking at designers’ new spring and summer wares.
“It’s all available now in the store,” Ms. Lewin said, noting that iPads were strategically placed throughout so that guests could order clothes that weren’t immediately available in their size.
Piperlime started as an online shoe store, the Gap’s answer to Zappos. The retail site later grew to include clothing and accessories. Then, Piperlime opened a brick-and-mortar store in Soho in 2012. And now, they’re designing their own clothes while also selling Milly, See by Chloe, Loeffler Randall and many more.
This has led to some brand confusion among those who haven’t purchased from the site. A friend tentaviely referred to Piperlime as “the yoga pants store?” when I said I was attending their Fashion Week party on Friday night.
But Piperlime’s just-launched, first-ever original clothing line could be the lynchpin the brand’s identity needs. The range includes 72 chic-yet-affordable items, like a $149 shearling jacket (which this reporter assumed would be much pricier on first glance) and a printed skirt-and-top set that will run you $89 per piece. The brand’s originals have a classic-yet-edgy feel, and they’re designed to pair well with the outlet’s higher-end items by other designers.
Their customer has to look amazing, whether she’s heading to a wedding, a barbecue or a shopping trip, Ms. Lewin said. With Piperlime’s more luxe outside labels and their lower-priced in-house line, the brand is looking to cover both ends of their ideal shopper’s high-low spectrum.
To come up with the designs, Ms. Lewin thought of Piperlime’s customers not in terms of demographics, but psychographics, focusing instead on their ideal customer’s background and tastes rather than her age or income. Aren’t marketing buzzwords fun?
“She could be 50 or 15,” Ms. Lewin said. “It doesn’t matter. She can wear the same brands and wear them in a different way, and mix brands in a way that’s right for her lifestyle. She loves fashion and she wants to look amazing and really appropriate for every occasion. She loves to mix investment pieces with affordable pieces in a way that’s right for her.”
Piperlime is also introducing a social stream called Style Feed, where members of their own creative team will curate looks from blogs and Instagram, then tell viewers where to buy the items and how to recreate certain trends. Plenty of startups have taken a similar approach, but Piperlime’s creative and styling chops will make this feed the one to watch.