Luxury Gowns on Loan

by Virginia Coyne

High-end clothing rental platform Armarium makes its D.C. debut.

Armarium founders Alexandra Lind Rose and Trisha Gregory.

Need a gown for the ball and can’t find THE ONE—meaning the one you saw on the runway during fashion week—anywhere? That’s because off-the-runway styles are not mass produced, nor are they readily available in stores. Enter Armarium, a luxury rental platform founded by New York society staples Trisha Gregory, a former fashion PR executive, and designer Alexandra Lind Rose.

The duo will be at the Jefferson Hotel Monday and Tuesday, October 23-24, as they helm their first pop-up shop in Washington. Although their app and web-based business already boasts a stable of clients in the District, from socialites to politicians, Gregory and Lind are hoping their area debut will introduce more women to the concept. So why not pop by and play dress up with the help of their seasoned stylists? Armarium will donate twenty percent of the proceeds of all items rented for the upcoming Knock out Abuse Gala on November 2 to the cause.

Ahead of Armarium’s D.C. visit, Washington Life spoke to co-founder Trisha Gregory about the business.

Armarium allows customers to rent straight-from-the-runway styles for 10-20 percent of the retail price.

WASHINGTON LIFE: What’s unique about Armarium? Tell me about the concept.

TRISHA GREGORY: We really focus our inventory on avant-garde statement pieces from the runway and the most luxury brands in the market. It’s meant to complement what the customer has in her closet. We launched in 2015 with a series of pop-up shops in New York, Los Angeles and Palm Beach and then we launched our app in April 2016. Alex and I are both from the industry. She’s a former fashion designer with her own label and I was the head of communications at Ferragamo for a decade. We really felt the need to give women across the country, outside of the fashion industry and the celebrity realm, access to these borrowed, amazing looks from the houses and from the runways that oftentimes aren’t largely produced and are not found in department stores. We also offer access to the stylists. In fact, our platform is largely based around styling and we have an in-house and freelance roster of stylists you can hire to help you. It’s all meant to complement your wardrobe and make you think about wardrobing and dressing differently. And everything is available to rent at 10-20 percent of the retail price for a four day period

WL: That’s pretty amazing for a customer who could never afford to wear something that’s straight off the runway!

TG: Afford OR find. It’s really hard to find a lot of these looks in the full price regional landscape, particularly in the smaller cities across the country. Los Angeles and New York have flagship boutiques, but as you get out to other parts of the country how do you get access to more women with those pieces they see on Instagram or in the press or on the red carpet?

WL: Who is your typical client?

TG: We really pride ourselves on dressing and conveniencing busy, socially active women. They’re largely professionals and they range in age from about 28 to their early 50s. She has a penchant for high fashion, she’s highly sophisticated in her style choices, she does not want anything basic. She likes to experiment with new trends and brands which is what rental allows—for you to step out of the box, out of your comfort zone. She’s willing to take a risk and a chance and she relies on our styling services, our stylists from the editorial and celebrity world. Our customer is definitely high-fashion minded and I think she’s largely renting for an event happening at nighttime, whether its a date or she’s chairing an event or hosting a dinner party in her home, but we also see a customer coming to us that is on the art gallery circuit, is in the creative field, is a public official that has speaking engagements or events during the day, so we can service her as well.

WL: You’re very selective about the brands you offer, correct?

TG: We wanted to offer a platform for global luxury brands. They had not been on a shared economy platform before. There is Rent the Runway, but they focus largely on a more contemporary brand matrix. We also pride ourselves on offering the current season. So we partnered with the designers directly on an avant-garde edit of pieces that we will take to rent. We offer global luxury brands such as Gucci, Ferragamo and Roberto Cavalli as well as pieces from American designers like Naeem Khan and Jason Wu. We really want to stay focused on luxury and allow our customers to experience luxury, sometimes for the first time, or if she is unfamiliar with a certain brand or trend, then we allow her to get into that through experiencing it with a one-time use.


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