Style Obsession: For the well-heeled, endless closet space is an achievable luxury
Trying to stay well-dressed is hard work, especially when you open your closet door and out tumbles an avalanche of wire hangers, stilettos and a precariously placed box that clocks you in the head.
Wouldn't it be wonderful to have an infinite closet and a valet to handle it all for you?
Ah, but you can -- for a price.
Garde Robe, a New York-based luxury wardrobe and valet business that has been catering to celebrities, ateliers, business travelers and jet-setting fashion lovers since 2001, opened a West Coast branch this month. The company started out providing clothing storage for Manhattanites with inadequate closet space, but has grown to also offer delivery, shipping and wardrobe inventory services. Clients include designers such as Carolina Herrera (who uses the service for her personal wardrobe and for her atelier), and frequent travelers who don't want to be encumbered by luggage. Ivanka Trump has made Garde Robe the official valet service of her new venture, the recently opened Trump SoHo New York hotel.
For simple storage, Garde Robe's specialty is the "endless closet space" package. For $350 a month, a customer may store 70 items. This includes one accessories box (capable of holding 10 shoe boxes) and one clothing rack (capable of holding up to 50 garments).
Those who suffer from Imelda Marcos-itis can store 30 pairs of shoes for $225 a month. A Garde Robe Jeeves works one-on-one with clients to decide what will be taken to one of the company's luxury storage facilities with 24/7 surveillance for safe-keeping.
Here's where Garde Robe turns fashion and service into 21st-century chic. Included in the "endless closet" package is the cyber closet. Each item is individually photographed, and the images and with detailed descriptions of each item are uploaded online so clients can look at what's been stored -- and decide which outfits to recall and wear -- at anytime, anywhere in the world.
The cyber closet is available as a stand-alone option for people who don't want to store their clothes with Garde Robe but want pieces snapped for insurance reasons. It's also a snazzy tool for stylists sending potential garment selections to celebrity clients unable to see them in person: just e-mail pictures of an outfit's components and, once the client decides what to wear, have Garde Robe make the delivery.
The company's luggage-free valet service takes the schleppage out of travel. Garde Robe's wardrobe-wizards pack for clients and arrange for shipping, so no more dealing with heavy suitcases, baggage claim or customs lines. Clients can put together destination collections simply by creating a one-off packing list. For those who travel yearly to ski in Aspen, for example, all that’s necessary is to click "Aspen," and pre-selected choices will await you there on arrival.
Sending things back is easy, too. Stick the pre-written labels on your returns, and Garde Robe will arrange for service anywhere in the world to handle all items going back to their storage facilities.
Clearly, the service isn't for everyone. One comment posted at Apartment Therapy had user TallulahBelle opining, "With the money you save on this 'first class' service, you could just rent a bigger apartment! Has the world gone mad!?"
Indeed, most of us will never do more than dream of an endless closet, but for celebrities and fashion leaders, the service may be a necessity.
-- Julie Neigher
Photo credits: Garde Robe