renting until quite recently, even as ‘the market has exploded in the US’, she said. Fashion expert Julie el Ghouzzi, who heads France’s Luxury Goods and Creation Centre, calls the new rental trend the ‘Cinderella syndrome’.
“There is a real change in society. We have less need to possess things and greater need for appearances. This Cinderella effect means that even if we become a pumpkin at midnight we can still be the most beautiful princess at the ball, and have all the pleasure of luxury without having to own it.”
El Ghouzzi described this as the ‘quintessence of consumption - we consume the object which then disappears’. Emmanuelle Brizay, co-founder of the Panoply City fashion rental site, said a whole new market was opening up.
“More than 90 per cent of our clients have never rented clothes before. We are in a period of education, not to say evangelisation.” Since January the site has rented out 4,000 items from the latest women’s collections from Marc Jacobs, Kenzo, Courreges and Sonia Rykiel. For € 60 a month customers can hire a different piece every week, while a € 350 a month subscription gives them access to ten outfits.
“Renting changes the relationship with clothes,” said Brizay. “One continues to buy them but you also can have more fun. Instead of buying an umpteenth black coat for the winter, with the same money you can change the colour every week.”
Even though the rental market for top-end luxury brands is still in its infancy, Brizay said the signs were very encouraging.
The attitude of the brands themselves has changed, she said. “At the beginning we had to convince them and now some of them are coming to us to make sure they feature in the selection.”
Designer bags available for renting out