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The Ultimate Endless Closet

Posted by CEMN Concierge on October 1, 2014
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“Endless Closet Space” “Luggage-Free Travel” You bet that caught my eye! If I’d only known… I would have had all of my celebrity clients signed up for Garde Robe years ago. They are successfully managing the inventory, and storage of complete wardrobes. Imagine your boss needing to pull a specific collection for an upcoming trip- from swimsuits to fur coats- on  a moment’s notice. I’m not sure how great your system is, but we have summer clothes in a warehouse in Van Nuys and the furs are in Manhattan in cold storage. Many of her Occasion dresses are at Iron Mountain. It would be a week to locate everything, prep it and get it packed. No more. This is a one-stop, digital look book and inventory system that will ship to you overnight, ready to wear. In case you missed it, here’s a great article highlighting the service in the New York Times:

By STEPHEN HEYMAN

Published: September 25, 2013

Secreted away in a nondescript warehouse in Long Island City, Queens, may be one of the most valuable collections of contemporary fashion in the world. Few know of its existence. There are no signs on the building. To get there, you take an elevator to the second floor and enter an unmarked door.

Inside is 15,000 square feet of air-purified, temperature-controlled closet space filled floor to ceiling with identical polypropylene garment bags. Walk along an aisle and you will see that the clothes, 30,000 pieces in all, some still with price tags, are organized by owner.

Here are Ivanka Trump’s empire-waist dresses, Gwyneth Paltrow’s couture gowns, the model Iman’s cashmere car coats and a shoe collection belonging to an Oscar-winning filmmaker who prefers to remain anonymous.

Also here, occupying several racks, is Oscar de la Renta’s complete archive of ready-to-wear collections, dating back to his first in 1965.

These are the headquarters of Garde Robe, a wardrobe storage service for the rich, the famous and the fashion-obsessed. Security is tight.

“We’re not Fort Knox,” said Adam Gilvar, the company’s president, “but we have the same surveillance system as Harry Winston.”

Each item that comes in for storage is inspected for dirt or other contaminants, sterilized, photographed and cataloged in a database. Clients can view their virtual closet on an iPad, and schedule same-day deliveries. A “rush” 90-minute delivery is also available, which comes in handy in summer, should you need a maxi dress to arrive at your seaplane before it takes off for East Hampton.

Garde Robe has about 300 members, including a billionaire real estate magnate and his wife, who store 3,000 pieces at a cost of more than $150,000 a year. Most clients have smaller storage needs, though the minimum is a single rack, which goes for $4,200 a year and is enough for 50 items of clothing, 10 pairs of shoes and a box of accessories. (By contrast, a 25-square-foot room at a nearby Storage Deluxe runs about $59 a month.)

The couture rent-a-closet concept is the brainchild of Kim Akhtar, 48, a Renaissance woman and polyglot who helped manage the English rock band the Cure and later became Dan Rather’s personal assistant.

“Like every New Yorker, I was always perpetually complaining about the lack of closet space,” Ms. Akhtar said. She tried one summer to store her winter clothes at a dry cleaner on the Upper East Side. The bill was several thousand dollars, and soon she could not remember what clothes she actually had in storage.

“Everything disappeared for six months,” she said. “I’d end up buying another black cashmere cardigan because I would forget that I already had a black cashmere cardigan.”

Her dreams of renting a walk-in closet led her to start Garde Robe in 2001 in a TriBeCa loft. Six years later, Ms. Akhtar sold the company to Mr. Gilvar and moved to Spain to pursue another passion, flamenco dancing, under the stage name La Maha.

Mr. Gilvar, 40, who was previously a business development manager for a Dutch media conglomerate, quickly expanded Garde Robe; the company relocated it to its present location in 2007.

It is still growing: Mr. Gilvar has taken on a partner, Doug Greenberg, and together they have opened satellite locations at high-end dry cleaners in Los Angeles and Miami and are working on expanding to Brazil and Europe.

“People are realizing that there’s an asset behind their closet doors,” Mr. Greenberg said. “Some of them are wise enough to protect it like a piece of art. They wouldn’t buy a piece of art at auction and then give it to A1 Storage on the side of the West Side Highway.”

Garde Robe’s staff comprises proud fashion geeks, all of whom have signed strict nondisclosure agreements so they will not gossip about the celebrity clientele, or their dirty laundry.

“It’s killer,” said Sara Lincoln, a 28-year-old account manager who grew up reading Vogue and studied apparel merchandising at Colorado State University. “During Fashion Week, I told my parents I had to go to Paris to deliver some furs for a princess. And that was the extent of what they knew.”

Read the full article here: Garde Robe: High-End Clothes Storage

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