Dressing Avenue: The Airbnb of luxury

Screen Shot 2017-06-23 at 12.31.40If you’ve got a special event coming up but your budget is more Primark than Prada, or you’re still feeling guilty about that fabulous dress you splurged on and wore just once, then French start-up Dressing Avenue might just have the answer.

Launched in July 2016, Dressing Avenue positions itself as the Airbnb of luxury. Thanks to the site, you can rent out what you don’t wear, and hire what you want to.

From Chanel to Chloé, the clothes, shoes and accessories made available for hire are rigorously checked by a stylist, and the authenticity of items are guaranteed by partner experts.

On average, items cost between 15 and 50 to rent per day (around 2-5% of the retail price), with a minimum rental period of 48 hours. Delivery, dry cleaning and insurance of up to 20,000 are included.

So what can you get for your money? A pair of Christian Louboutin Eugénie heels embellished with Swarovski crystals for 28 per day, a Balmain mini dress with power shoulders for 33 per day, or a Chanel Boy bag for 45 per day.

With the clothes rental market worth 600m and growing 9.8% per year, according to 2015 data from Future Market Insights cited by Dressing Avenue, this is definitely a segment to watch.

 

 

 

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Haute Couture under the hammer

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Today I went to an exhibit of haute-couture organised by Parisian auction house Artcurial. On display at the famous Hôtel Drouot in Paris’ 9th arrondissement, the (mostly vintage) pieces came from various collectors and are set to go under the hammer tomorrow, February 3.

From Chanel to Christian Dior via Courrèges, there are some great pieces up for auction, with some 550 lots in total. My favourite was the Balenciaga Haute Couture coat dress from circa 1948, which had an estimate of between €2,500 and €4,500. Other items aren’t expected to go for as much, however; a Franck Sorbier dress worn by the actress Saïda Jawad at Paris Fashion Week fall/winter 2015 has an estimate of €400-600.

I had a great time imagining what I might buy if I were a collector of haute couture and had a sizeable Parisian apartment to store it all in. (Although I suppose the seriously wealthy store their furs in temperature-controlled vaults). The great thing about this exhibit was that you could touch the clothes, and even try on the odd coat if you wanted to. I saw lots of people feverishly noting down the pieces that interested them, so I suspect there may be rather a few bidders tomorrow…

 

eBay to launch authentification program for secondhand luxury goods

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Although I’m yet to buy a secondhand designer bag online, my default go-to website for a quick browse is always Vestiaire Collective. Why? Because when you buy an item via the site, it is automatically inspected by Vestiaire Collective’s team, who are said to be highly trained in spotting counterfeits. So you can be sure that what you are forking out a lot of money for is indeed the genuine article.

Probably the last place I would look is eBay, because we so often hear stories of people buying goods that turn out to be fake—Christina Warren of Gizmodo wrote about how she bought a Louis Vuitton bag on eBay for $300, only for the zipper to break. When she took it to a Louis Vuitton store to be replaced, the sales assistant told her it was fake. And we’ve all heard a tale about someone buying something based on a stock photo, only for a cheap knock off to arrive in the post.

Counterfeit goods on online marketplaces such as eBay erode consumer confidence and can have a detrimental effect on the many sellers out there who sell genuine designer goods.

Although eBay already has anti-counterfeit initiatives such as the Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) program, which allows rights holders to quickly report items listed on eBay that are possible counterfeits, the auction site announced last week that it is going one step further and launching the eBay authentificate program later this year.

How it works is simple: sellers or buyers opt into the service for a fee on specific types of products on eBay (the program will initially be focusing on high-end fashion, such as designer handbags), and the item is then reviewed by a professional authentificator before being shipped to the buyer once it passes the inspection. And if the item is shipped but is later found to be counterfeit, eBay says it will refund the buyer two times the cost of the original purchase price.

The program looks to be win-win for both buyers and sellers: buyers can confidently purchase big-ticket items, and sellers can get the best price for what they are selling. Provided, of course, that people are willing to pay for this authentification. And there’s the rub—eBay hasn’t yet revealed details of how much the service costs, but I’m guessing it won’t come cheap.

Les Emplettes vente flash

img_7384Parisian pop-up Les Emplettes is back this weekend with a flash sale. This mini edition spanning just two days is sure to throw up some great secondhand bargains, so I’ll definitely be stopping by. During the December edition, labels for sale included Eric Bompard, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Sandro, Maje and Balmain, so I’m excited to see what will be on the rails this time around.

Les Emplettes, 11 rue Debelleyme 75003 Paris.
From 14-15 January 10am-8pm

Oxfam online boutique 70% off sale

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Oxfam UK is currently running a sale on its online boutique, with up to 70% off preloved clothing and accessories. There are many great bargains to be had, too. If I had size 5 feet I’d be snapping up the black Burberry courts (pictured) that are now just £28.50, down from £95. I also love the purple strapless Karen Millen dress, which is now a mere £4.79, down from £15.99. I posted a picture of this dress on Instagram – it looks stunning. There’s also a black Gucci dress for £52.50, down from £175, and a Hobbs black and white dress for £15 instead of £50.

The item I’m most drawn to, however, isn’t actually in the sale. It’s a Paul Smith Black Label fuchsia skirt for £39.99 (I also posted this on Instagram). I can’t work out what size it is though – it’s a size 42 on the label, listed on Oxfam’s site as a size 14 with a 27.5 inch waist. If a 27.5 inch waist is a size 14, then I must be bordering on morbidly obese….

 

 

Dressing the part

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Last week I went to dépôt-vente La Marelle in Paris with the idea of just browsing in order to write a blog post, but then ended up taking leave of my senses and buying two dresses. One for parties and one for work, because, well, one needs to work, and one needs to party, and one can never have enough dresses, right?

On the left is a brand new with tags Kenzo monster dress (208, gulp, but it originally retailed for 679 on Stylebop.com. I wore it for new year and got lots of compliments, so I’ll have to make sure it gets another outing soon in a suitably fabulous setting.

And on the right is a black and white 60s style dress that a fellow customer commented was “très Courrèges“. It feels expensive and a quality garment, but doesn’t have a label, which probably explains why it was a rather reasonable 42 with 20% off. If anyone knows what brand this dress is, please tell me as I’d love to know.

Stay tuned for my upcoming blog post on La Marelle – it’s located in the beautiful Galerie Vivienne, the staff are lovely, and it’s got some amazing designer clothes at a fraction of the original price. As I was leaving both staff and customers were raving about a Christian Dior dress that had just been put on the rail. It was rather nice, but when your income is more Diesel than Dior, you have to know when to put away that credit card…

 

A visit to Vestiaire Collective’s Parisian pop-up

d8d337ce-53e7-41fd-82f5-faa66c2362f0French luxury resale website Vestiaire Collective has opened a pop-up shop at Paris’ Mandarin Oriental hotel.

The pop-up is running from Dec 13 – Dec 22, with prices ranging from €100 – €30,000, according to Vogue.

Given that I regularly drool over the designer pieces on Vestiaire Collective (and because it’s not every day that I get to go to a five star hotel), I had to go and check them out in real life. Even though the designer items on display were ‘preloved’, they looked entirely unused. A leather Saint Laurent jacket, a Chanel bag, a beautiful beaded dress that I didn’t dare ask the price of…

Obviously I wanted to buy everything, and obviously I could afford nothing, but a girl can dream, right?