While shopping for a photoshoot, I heard about this clothing rental company a few blocks away and decided to check out their showroom. I am so glad I did, I just wish we had this in the U.S.
Located inside beautiful old apartment building, L’habibliotheque is hidden away, there isn’t even a street number outside, much less a sign announcing the presence of a business inside. After entering two separate door codes and climbing 6 flights of stairs (antique elevators, as a rule, are not to be trusted), we arrived in a gorgeous penthouse apartment repurposed as a showroom. Three spacious, light filled rooms were lined with racks featuring clothing by designers such as Carven, Alexander Wang, and Cacharel.
Unlike its American competitors Rent the Runway and Bag Borrow or Steal, L’Habibliotheque offers the denizens of Paris a space to try things on and see what’s new, as well as a website to shop and reserve items remotely. They even offer a car service to pick up old items and drop off new ones!
Here’s how it works: for 149€ per month you can subscribe to their service. You can pick three items at a time to rent. After three days, you can exchange any or all of your items for new pieces. This can be done online or in person continuously for as long as you are a member. Shipping, cleaning, and incidental damage (small things like snags or spills) are all included in your membership cost. They have over 1,500 different items, with size runs from 34-42 (US sizes 0-10), as well as a small collection of jewelry and handbags.
If you are going to be in Paris for a month or more, I highly recommend subscribing to their service. You can save valuable room in your luggage by not having to pack for every possible occasion, and you won’t have to worry about hopelessly wrinkled clothing or dry cleaning during your stay. This option is also great for style bloggers or fashionistas who want to get some cool fashion shots during their trip. Since you can get new pieces every three days, you could spend your whole trip without repeating an outfit.
Here are the pieces we picked for the photo shoot:
This dark blue sheath dress by Carven will inject some much needed color into the wardrobe for our photo shoot. Shooting in the winter can be a bit dreary, as plants have died down and skies are typically overcast or grey.
The client wants a classic, retro Parisian feel to her photos, and this dress by Cacharel has the perfect lines for that. We plan on adding a pearl necklace and earrings and some classic black pumps to complete the look.
This bright red coat by Tara Jarmon immediately jumped out at both of us. Such a vivid color will look spectacular in photos, and will work well to draw focus even in a crowd shot.
Right now we are in the process of selecting three more pieces to shoot in the evening that day, so I can pop into the showroom and do a quick exchange. I’ll post an update with more photos when that happens. After the shoot, the client plans on keeping her subscription for the remainder of the trip and using it to get pieces for date nights and events, as well as some warm coats and sweaters to bundle up in for every day use.
During our visit, a camera crew from Channel 1 showed up to film a segment on L’Habibliotheque and asked to film us shopping and do a quick interview. Which is why I should always wear makeup to work. Because now I’m going to be on the news with unwashed hair and bare skin.
Overall, what impressed me the most about the showroom was how well they edited their collection for everyday use. The outfits I saw would work well for the office, dinners out, or just wearing around town. They were age-appropriate and chosen to work well with virtually every other piece there. I’ve seen a lot of special occasion clothing rental companies, and even visited rent the runway’s showroom in Las Vegas, but this was much different. I loved the upscale boutique vibe and the excellent but unobtrusive customer service. If you find yourself in Paris for any length of time, I highly recommend you check them out.