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New App Armarium Lets You Rent Designer Merch — and a Professional Stylist

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Armarium's NYC showroom
Armarium's NYC showroom
Photos: Armarium

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Here's a new way to wear a $4,000 designer dress to an event without, you know, actually forking over $4,000. Armarium, an app that lets customers rent pieces straight off the runway for a fraction of their retail price, launches out of beta today. That means customers nationwide can try out renting Armarium pieces from designer brands like Nina Ricci, Anthony Vaccarello, Peter Pilotto, Sonia Rykiel, Roberto Cavalli, Jimmy Choo, and more. The app had a soft, invite-only launch earlier this year, but now it's available to all.

Founded by fashion industry vets Alexandra Lind Rose and Trisha Gregory, Armarium's already raised $1.25 million in seed funding. If you’re comparing Armarium’s rental program to the grande dame of clothing rental, Rent The Runway, Armarium has a big differentiator. Besides the luxury inventory, Armarium offers customers access to a fleet of stylists including top names like Shiona Turini and Natalie Joos. Customers can book in-person appointments in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, or schedule remote styling calls from anywhere. You can even try clothes on at Armarium’s NYC showroom (an experience that can prove very useful, as Racked’s Kenzie Bryant described of a showroom visit).

Unlike Rent The Runway, which has faced some negative press lately and is betting heavily on its "Unlimited" subscription rental model, Armarium doesn't do any monthly fees. Every piece is priced individually for rental, and prices for each piece range from 10 to 20% of retail price. For example, a $3,345 Anthony Vaccarello one-shoulder dress rents for $500, while $220 Mercedes Salazar earrings rent for $50, and a $1595 Jimmy Choo bag rents for $160.

Those prices might be in a different league than many options on Rent The Runway, (although some RTR pieces can run upwards of $500 per rental). But with the addition of its "Style Brigade" of stylists, Armarium combines two fashion tech trends: clothing rental and personalized shopping advice, joining similar services out there like Keaton Row, Stitch Fix, and Trunk Club that connect you with your own personal stylist.  Of course, Armarium is a brand-new service, so it remains to be seen whether shoppers will take to it the way they've taken to Stitch Fix, or if it will have the kind of longevity that Rent The Runway is trying to have.

Armarium's built-in styling help might be very appreciated though, if you're thinking about taking the plunge in some of the app's fashion-forward offerings, like this Marco de Vincenzo dress made entirely out of feather-like chiffon fringe.