Fashion rental offers top labels for price of pizza

A model presents a creation for Christian Dior during the women's 2018 Spring/Summer ready-to-wear collection fashion show in Paris. (AFP)
Updated 12 November 2017
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Fashion rental offers top labels for price of pizza

PARIS: Fancy hitting the town in the latest Dior dress with an outrageously expensive Louis Vuitton bag on your arm — but haven’t the cash to afford even the clasp?
The fantasy is no longer a pipe dream for thousands of women in Paris, the world’s fashion capital, where hiring luxury clothes and handbags is beginning to catch on.
A new service has started which allows fashionistas to rent Dior, Gucci, Saint Laurent and other luxury brand handbags for as little as €10 ($11) a day.
A €4,500 classic Chanel black shoulder bag can be hired for €25 a day, although customers have also to cough up €20 in insurance and pay for a courier to deliver the bag to their door.
Yann Le Floch, founder of the Instant Luxe website, which already sells secondhand designer clothes and bags to its one million members, said the site was responding to a new “pattern of consumption” where women see no shame in renting their wardrobe.
In his view, many women would rather use than own a luxury bag, which is why his company has begun renting out about “20 classic handbag styles for a minimum of four nights,” he told AFP.
“Uber has changed transport, Airbnb accommodation and habits are changing in the luxury goods market too,” Le Floch said.
“We are changing our consumption habits from ownership to use. And people are not renting just for special occasions but to treat themselves,” he added.
While France has long had a thriving market in secondhand designer clothes and bags, fans of luxury labels have been much more reluctant about 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 Center, 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 percent of our clients have never rented clothes before. We are in a period of education, not to say evangelization.”
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 10 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 color 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.”
The big question is how long can rental pieces, even high-quality ones, be hired as “new.”
“The idea is certainly not to wear them out,” Brizay said, while at Instant Luxe used bags can be sold on on the site as secondhand.
The millennials of “Generation Y (those born during the 1980s and 1990s) are completely ready for the fashion rental market,” according to El-Ghouzzi.
“They already have all their lives stored in clouds, so not ‘possessing’ something by having it in their hands all the time is not a problem for them.”
— AFP


Tesla rival Lucid Motors wants to build factory in Saudi Arabia

Updated 22 min 31 sec ago
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Tesla rival Lucid Motors wants to build factory in Saudi Arabia

  • Lucid Motors eyes production plant in Kingdom after raising more than $1bn from the Public Investment Fund
  • California-based electric-car maker hopes to sell first vehicles for more than $100,000 

LONDON: A US-based electric-vehicle company that raised more than $1 billion from Saudi Arabia wants to build a factory in the Kingdom, and says its mission to build “the best car in the world” is well underway. 

The California-based Lucid Motors is developing its first model, the Air, which it hopes to sell for more than $100,000 when it enters production in less than two years’ time. 

Financial backing from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), announced last year, will allow Lucid to proceed with the development of the all-electric sedan, as well as fund the $240 million cost of building the first phase of its factory in the US.

Peter Rawlinson, chief technology officer at Lucid Motors — and a former engineer at rival Tesla — said the company wants to eventually build a production plant in Saudi Arabia, and sees a “long-term” partnership with the Kingdom.

“I can see a really bright future, with a tangible manufacturing facility or facilities,” Rawlinson told Arab News.

“We’d love to do that … We’re currently in a period where we are investigating all these options. 

“There is a vision that there will be some sort of production facility in the future.”

Rawlinson added that it is “early days” for such a plan, but said he sees many opportunities for electric vehicles in Saudi Arabia — not least, because of the abundant sunshine and potential for solar power.

“We are undertaking the appropriate studies, but I’m really excited about the potential of this. This partnership is huge for us; we can benefit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in a significant, meaningful and long-term manner,” he said. 

“One of the great assets of the Kingdom is its endless reserves of sunshine, and how that can be harvested with solar energy. We’re a battery-storage technology company; that’s a way we could contribute. We’re exploring a number of avenues along those lines.”

Lucid is positioning itself in the luxury market, and Rawlinson said its Air model is looking to compete with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The Lucid Air is the company’s first car, but Rawlinson said an initial public offering (IPO) could be on the cards to develop future models.

The engineer brushed off the idea of a competitive threat from Elon Musk’s Tesla, where he once worked as chief engineer for the Model S.

“We don’t see Tesla as a key, direct competitor. We see the German gasoline cars — the petrol engine cars … as our core competitive set,” he said. 

“I’ve spoken to many people … who would gladly buy an electric car but say they’re not going to give up their Mercedes-Benz to buy a Tesla because of the interior. You’ve only got to step inside a Tesla to realize it’s not true luxury.”