The Couture Valet
By Sarah Binder
Garde Robe’s “wardrobe butler” service is the first and only of its kind.
In New York, the city that never sleeps, one can have any type of cuisine delivered to his or her residence at any time of night. On-demand delivery of an entire, freshly pressed wardrobe sounds slightly more complicated, yet Garde Robe, a luxury wardrobe storage and valet company, offers a menu of comprehensive services to organize, store and transport one’s most valuable garments and accessories. It recently delivered a ready-to-wear wardrobe to a high-profile client on his super yacht, docked on the Hudson River beside the West Side Highway prior to embarking on a worldwide trip.
Garde Robe has found a successful niche, albeit one that caters to a wide variety of members, from relatively anonymous, well-off Manhattanites seeking more closet space to popular entertainers looking to store costumes from performances at presidential inaugurations or the Olympics. From royalty and Hollywood A-listers to rock-and-roll hall-of-famers and the world’s premier design houses (Oscar de la Renta; Carolina Herrera), Garde Robe’s member list largely reads like a who’s-who in high-end fashion.
Founded 15 years ago, the company’s services include cataloguing and caring for valuable couture, storing off-season wardrobes, coordinating luggage-free travel, providing visual access to members’ personal collections via its signature Cyber Closets, and more. “We started before the Internet was as prevalent as it is today, and we were really the first storage company in the world to display online all of our members’ belongings that were in our care,” says Doug Greenberg, vice president of sales and marketing.
Garde Robe’s massive loft storage space in New York (additional locations can be found in California, Florida and Las Vegas) is fully equipped with top-of-the-line security measures, climate control, and air purification. Approximately 18 full-time staff members are charged with caretaking the garments of about 350 current Garde Robe members, some of whom have more than 3,000 pieces at the museum-quality facility, says Greenberg. “If you’re a collector, you want to work with people who live and breathe the same language as you,” he says. “Our staff can speak to our members intelligently and eloquently about fashion, designers and labels, and they’re highly trained in garment care.”
Garde Robe provides in-home consultation and white-glove pick-up and delivery, so members never have to leave the comfort of their home. Upon arrival, garments are inspected, catalogued and professionally photographed. Staff work with the member to create his or her Cyber Closet, which is accessible through an iPad app or on Garde Robe’s website. Each item in the Cyber Closet is accompanied by a photo and detailed description including the designer, size, color, fabric, season and customized categories based on the member’s specific needs. The company sends an inspection report to the member and then prepares each garment meticulously for storage. All garments are wrapped in acid-free tissue and either hung in imported garment bags or placed in breathable archival boxes.
Garde Robe’s Cyber Closets provide a service even to those who have no need for the physical storage of their garments. “We can set up a Cyber Closet with a location field — Aspen, the Hamptons, Malibu — and members can see the wardrobes that are in those secondary homes. They want to have a way to track where their items are for inventory and insurance purposes,” Greenberg says.
An additional major component is the luggage-free valet option, which prepares, packs, ships and delivers selected pieces or full wardrobes on-demand and ready-to-wear to jetsetters and business travelers anywhere in the world, whether the destination is a member’s ski home in Aspen or their hotel in Paris. Demand for these services should continue to grow as the company makes its first international expansion this summer into Australia. “Garde Robe’s great for pied-à-terre owners. We work in conjunction with the estate manager and set up the wardrobe on-site. If the member hasn’t been in that home for nine months and their clothes were just sitting in a closet, the clothes wouldn’t be in good condition — not nearly the same as freshly pressed,” says Greenberg. “We deliver everything as-new and ready-to-wear.”
Beyond its core services, Garde Robe offers its members access to experiences such as VIP treatment at Bergdorf Goodman, Fashion Week tickets, and the opportunity to attend dinner and events at New York’s CORE Club. “We want to go above and beyond being just a wardrobe management service,” Greenberg says.
Garde Robe’s Cyber Closet storage rates start at $350 per month and include the wardrobe consultation, set up of the Cyber Closet and iPad app, insurance, and complimentary pick-up and delivery in most cases. Garde Robe arranges professional dry cleaning and repairs on the member’s behalf at-cost.