New Year's Eve requires the ultimate party outfit. But what if you have already run your dressy wardrobe ragged during the holiday season? Or you feel as if it's time to ring in 2006 with something fresh? Or your holiday spending has burned holes in your designer denim pockets? The answer might be to rent a little luxury.
位于英国伦敦的晚礼服租赁商One Night Stand公司就拥有500多套各式礼服，其中每年都有25％为当年的新款。公司创始人乔安娜·多尼哥女士在创建这家公司之前，就曾几乎每天忙于应付那些前来借衣服穿的人。多尼哥说：“我当时想，她们为什么不干脆去买来自己穿呢？”事实是她们买不起，就拿多尼哥店里的其中一套礼服的租赁价格为例，4天租借期限需要支付的价格为150英镑（合260美元），而要在百货商店里面买这么一套，价格可远远不止这些。多尼哥说：“现在的白领女士品味越来越多变，买一件晚礼服对她们来说是个‘很贵的主意’，因为多数人不愿意两次宴会穿同一件衣服。”
New Year's Eve requires the ultimate party outfit. But what if you have already run your dressy wardrobe ragged during the holiday season? Or you feel as if it's time to ring in 2006 with something fresh? Or your holiday spending has burned holes in your designer denim pockets?
The answer might be to rent a little luxury.
The renting business has begun to lose the stigma of an industry filled with knockoff designer tuxedos, Halloween costumes or out-of-date evening wear. Still largely an industry dedicated to special-event clothing (gala dinners, corporate parties, weddings), it has started to branch out into more casual clothing. And for those not afraid to shop around, it has become an option for dressing well on a budget.
At the London-based eveningwear rental company One Night Stand (onenightstand.co.uk), there are more than 500 dresses for rent with 25 percent of the stock bought new every year. The owner, Joanna Doniger, started the company when she got fed up with people borrowing her dresses. "I thought why couldn't they go out and buy their own," she says with a laugh.
But they can't; for the price of one of her rentals (￡150, or $260, for a four-day period), the only things available in most department stores are dresses that look as if they are late for the prom. "Working women have sophisticated tastes, but buying an evening dress is a very expensive proposition, and most people don't want to wear the same dress more than once," says Doniger.
This need for something new and different for every social outing has even created subcategories in the luxury rental business.
In Paris the clothing rental store Quidam de Revel has carved out a niche in the industry by renting only designer vintage clothing. Located in the 3rd Arrondissement (it faces the Christian Lacroix-designed hotel Le Petit Moulin), the store caters to a discerning clientele looking to make an impact.
Opened six years ago by Philippe and Emmanuel Harros as a way to make money out of their love of vintage fashion, the store rents clothing, bags and jewelry for one night or for an entire fashion season. "Our clothing is really the crème de la crème of vintage," says Philippe Harros, who also counts most of the top fashion houses as clients who come in and rent pieces for inspiration. With an adjacent storefront chockablock full of the husband and wife's vintage finds, renting is by appointment only. "We see ourselves as consultants for our clients. We make a selection of items from what they give us as guidelines, and we use our own knowledge of the collection to make the best choices," he says. The couple plan to open a second rental store in the new year.
But what has brought on this recent change in perception on renting luxury? Unexpectedly, the transformation has been helped along by a change in corporate policy by many top businesses. For years businessmen all over the world have gotten a clothing allowance from their companies to rent a tuxedo or other luxury items they need for an event. But while any company looking at the bottom line is not going to pay for a female employee to buy a new evening dress, they are now more willing to help pay for renting one. "In the last five years a lot of businesses have started to pay for some if not all of a rental. They will pay, say, ￡80 or ￡90 of the cost and let the women top off the rest themselves," says Doniger.
But renting luxury fashion is not limited to clothing. As anyone who has picked up a fashion magazine over the past few years knows, having the latest must-have designer handbag is the fastest way for a woman to communicate her fashion savvy and display her luxury status.
In April 2004 the Bag Borrow or Steal (www.bagborroworsteal.com) Web site was launched to cater to women who covet the luxury handbags but not their designer prices.
"Our company gives the everyday woman a chance to wear the latest designer bag and feel like a million bucks without having to spend it," says Brenda Kauffman, fashion director for the company.
For a monthly fee the company will let members borrow a bag for as long as they want, and if they fall in love with it, they even give their clientele the option to "steal" the bag for a certain sum. There are three different membership levels, called Trendsetter, Princess and Diva, and the bags available to rent are not overstock or from last season. Become a Diva member for $250 a month, and carrying the latest incarnation of the Chloé Paddington bag or a Fendi Spy bag is no longer a dream but a reality.
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