NEW YORK — The seemingly endless swell of galas, benefits and store openings this season has social New Yorkers running all over town to find the perfect garb, and Neva Lindner has a timely solution.
Late last year, Lindner, a 30-year-old Westchester, N.Y., native, founded Wardrobe NYC, an enterprise that rents current-season and vintage designer clothes, shoes and accessories.
“I came up with this idea originally as a public service for upwardly mobile women like myself,” said Lindner, whose epiphany to create the ultimate closet came years ago, after she was invited to an awards show at the 11th hour and needed a serious gown. “I couldn’t afford to go to Bergdorf’s and buy a $6,000 dress and I didn’t want to buy something cheap that I would never wear again.”
Wardrobe NYC rents clothes to celebrities, stylists, and entertainment and fashion-industry types at 10 to 15 percent of the retail value of each garment. Lindner now has up to 2,000 pieces, ranging from a bugle-beaded Chloé cocktail dress to a vintage Atelier Versace lime green crepe skirt suit. There are also shoes from Pierre Hardy, Marc Jacobs and Yves Saint Laurent. Retail prices range from $500 to $15,000.
Lindner is the former assistant to Harry Winston chairman Ronald Winston and was an assistant to Ford Management’s chief executive officer, Katie Ford. Lindner also coproduced Bluefly.com’s first sample sale, in 2003 at the Chelsea Hotel here; it grossed more than $200,000, above the firm’s projections.
Lindner set up shop here at 451 Greenwich Street with the help of five financial backers, including her former boss, Winston, and magnate Jeffrey Steiner. She is making inroads overseas, too. Lindner traveled to Europe on buying excursions to meet with designers to buy wholesale and on the same delivery schedule as traditional stores.
To shop at Wardrobe, one must either be invited by Lindner, or affiliated with the fashion or entertainment industries. Lindner already counts Sophie Dahl and Rachel Hunter as clients, in addition to costume designers Melissa Meister and Juliet Polcsa, who work for Sharon Stone and “The Sopranos,” respectively. Wardrobe also caters to stylists working on photo shoots, TV commercials and print campaigns. And, come July, stylists can check Wardrobe’s inventory via a Web site with a special user name and password.
Lindner has partnered with the Peninsula Hotel here for a catalogue featuring some of Wardrobe’s wares for the hotel’s guests in need of stylish duds while in town. Wardrobe is also on the roster of luxe finds at Quintessentially, a concierge service here. Lindner plans to open a Los Angeles location within three to four years.