Luxury, in essence, is about exclusivity and access to something truly unique. These days, with fast fashion and designer knockoffs so prevalent on the market, this ideology is becoming less viable, and certainly less prevalent. However, there are those who still appreciate quality and great design – and have the buying power to get their hands on an “It” item straight off the runway. But even then, the time frame for these must-have designer pieces (typically six months) doesn’t justify the high cost. Also, many don’t have access to the really good stuff, the editorial pieces that are usually meant to be a centerpiece. That’s why the masses have started borrowing items from Rent The Runway and Bag, Borrow Or Steal, websites that lend items for a fee. That said, their selection leans more towards commercial products, which are less worthy of note.
Filling this void is Armarium, a premier service for on-call luxury, where invite-only members can access a virtual treasure trove of haute couture-like designer pieces. For a fee, select customers can rent sought-after apparel and accessories from the industry’s top brands, including Nina Ricci, Marchesa, Robert Cavalli, Vionet, Salvatore Ferragamo, Lee Savage and more.
“For years, we’ve talked about how hard it is to find runway staple pieces to wear to events or even out to dinner with friends,” said co-founder Alexandra Lind Rose, fashion designer and former style entrepreneur, in a press release. “That’s when we started thinking about how we could solve this problem, and the idea for Armarium was born,” said fellow co-founder and CEO Trisha Gregory, former director of public relations at Salvatore Ferragamo.
Both are industry veterans with nearly 20 years of experience between them, which means their Rolodexes are filled to the brim with the who’s who of fashion. Using this to their advantage, they created the Style Brigade, a team of stylists and experts available for hire via Skype, showroom appointments or private residences for those living in New York City. , Los Angeles and San Francisco. These experts are able to dress clients for every category – from a fabulous excursion to the Bahamas to a glamorous black-tie gala – using the carefully curated collection provided by Armarium.
Thanks to their mobile app and website, customers around the world can access this truly one-of-a-kind service, along with the most cutting-edge parts from the best brands on the market, and at a fraction of the cost. Yes, these items can be loaned, but with the fashion cycle being so fleeting these days, it would be better and more profitable to borrow than to buy. “Luxury is defined by convenience and service,” Gregory said. “What we want to provide is a sense of community. I think that’s the real luxury.
To celebrate the newly launched app and website, Gregory hosted a fancy party at 583 Park Avenue, where she talked about the inner workings of Armarium, and how you too can be part of this amazing community. chic, or, as they said, #JoinTheArmi.
Where does the name Armarium come from?
It’s Latin for wardrobe, or a place where people keep valuables. It’s also a play on the word wardrobe.
So how does Armarium differ from established luxury retailers?
We partner with brands and buy parts wholesale or on consignment. And we lend our parts to our customers for 15% of the retail price for four days. We really focus on statement pieces that are more editorial, that are more of a one-hit wonder. You wouldn’t necessarily invest in owning these pieces, wearing them over and over again, because they are a sensation. We want customers to associate our statement pieces with other trade pieces they get from other retailers.
What if they want to keep the parts for more than four days?
We can certainly extend it on a daily basis. Many people borrow these items for various holidays. For example, someone came who was going on a trip to Moscow and Paris for 10 days and borrowed five complete looks.
After a few seasons, do women really want to borrow, say, outdated pieces?
It really depends on the look. Sometimes, we want to wear Nicholas Ghesquière’s latest collection at Balenciaga, or what Hedi Slimane has just designed at Saint Laurent Paris. We organize a very editorial selection, and know what can live beyond a given season, or what should be sold. We will have sample sales twice a year.
What other services do you offer with your newly launched website and mobile app?
Basically, our new app allows our customers to rent the parts and book a stylist. We have 21 independent stylists, ranging from Shiona Turini [formerly of Cosmopolitan magazine] and Anne Caruso [formerly of Harper’s Bazaar] to Meredith Melling and Valerie Boster [formerly of Vogue]. Our customers have access to these experts, either in our showroom in New York or at their home. Some of our stylists are even ready to fly across the country or are available on Skype.
Do you get agent fees of any kind?
A small percentage. They will style our members in a very editorial and fashion-forward way. We’ve found that many women don’t know how to access stylists of this caliber. All of our team members – our Style Brigade – have over five years of experience in luxury fashion magazines and celebrity campaigns. We also have in-house stylists available in our showroom, or over the phone which are less expensive.
You will also have editorials on your website. Tell us more about it.
It is meant to highlight a certain lifestyle. Whether you’re borrowing a piece for dinner or heading to St. Barthes with your boyfriend and needing a dress, we want to show it’s not just about evening wear events. We cater to all categories.
How do you make a profit?
In three and a half turns, we make a profit on the dress. In addition, we make a profit on styling services. Eventually, we will also succeed through affiliate partnerships.
How to apply to become a member of Armarium?
You can fill out a form on our website. Currently, our members have come by word of mouth and through our various partnerships, such as the St. Regis Hotel, the John Barrett Salon and Eric Buterbaugh. [the noted celebrity florist] to the. If anyone is interested in high fashion and books a stylist, we want you to be a member of our club.
How do you see Armarium evolving in, say, the next five years?
We’re going to add more brands, more categories, and maybe expand into menswear. Partnerships are essential for us. We want to take our daughter out and prepare her to face the world.
Sign up to become an Armarium member on their websiteor visit their showroom at 1 East 52nd St, New York, NY 10022.