Filed under: Feature | Tags: Banana Republic, Catherine Malandrino, Christian Siriano, Clothing, couture, Diane von Furstenberg, Fashion, Fashion design, Herve Leger, high fashion, Jennifer Carter Fleiss, Jennifer Hudson, Jennifer Hyman, Proenza Schouler, Rent, Rent the Runway, Renting, Sex and the City
THE PERFECT HOLIDAY DRESS?: RENT THE RUNWAY
I just received an invite in my inbox to try out Rent the Runway, the latest web site to take on the high fashion rental market. Remember Bag, Borrow, or Stealmade popular by Jennifer Hudson’s character in the Sex and the City movie? Well, it appears we’ve moved past renting accessories and on to renting a whole look. Need a dress-to-impress for that holiday party? Think of how amazing you will look in a Hervé Léger. Gorg. Here’s how it all breaks down.
The site offers a smattering of designers from Catherine Malandrino, Tracy Reese to Cavalli. Dress rentals run from $50 – $200 for a 4-day rental including the price to ship to your doorstep. That’s one-tenth of the typical cost. While dresses come in sizes 0-10, this is high fashion. Not surprisingly, most are only available up to a size 8. They also allow another dress to be shipped to your house free of charge in a separate size when you rent from a new designer. Girl, you know how you like to lie about your size… These designers don’t front like Banana Republic trying to convince you that you actually weigh 10 pounds less! The site offers returns within 24 hours for any reason.
Proenza Schouler– Peekaboo shoulder sheath
After rocking out the dress and impressing your friends with your style and apparent wallet-size, simply place the dress in a pre-paid envelope and return to RTR. Dry cleaning is included but damage insurance costs an additional $5 extra. If you happen to all-out destroy the dress (think Can’t By Me Love), you can either find a geek to go out with you or pay up for the entire cost of the dress.
The inventory currently includes 160 dresses and the founders claim that twenty thousand women have signed up on the site, which has only been shipping dresses for a week. No men’s fashion for now boys.
So far, a few things seem to be critical to the site’s success.
In planning for a big event, if the dress doesn’t arrive on time, it could spell disaster.
No one wants to be rocking a Proenza Schouler from 3 collections back. Travesty.
There’s a clear difference between sauntering around with a rented handbag on your arm vs. wearing a dress that many could have worn before you. Yes, we’ve all tried on clothes in fitting rooms. Have those clothes walked out of the fitting room, into a cab, gotten wasted at Spring Lounge at an after party and proceeded to eject the contents of the most recent Jack & Ginger on a street corner? I think not.
The key is to rent each dress enough times that RTR can make back what they spent on each. Netflix only has to make back the cost of a DVD. A piece of designer threads costs substantially higher increasing the potential risk.
So far the service is invitation-only but we’re working on getting some invites for loyal readers. Check back later.
It remains to be seen if this model can prove successful but in the meantime, yes, this is a Christian Siriano. Glad you like it.
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