As We See It

Rent the Runway puts designer duds within reach at Cosmo

This isn’t your closet, but it could be now that Rent the Runway is bringing its designer vault to Vegas, via a pop-up boutique at the Cosmopolitan.
Rent the Runway

Window-shopping for designer fashion is something everyone does in Las Vegas. Actually buying it is reserved for a small pool of locals and tourists who can afford that Reem Acra gown begging for a red carpet. That’s why we love Rent the Runway, the great equalizer. The online phenom leads the industry of renting designer duds, and it’s about to open up shop in the Cosmopolitan’s trendsetting space.

The boutique is Rent the Runway’s first on this side of the country, spurred by the success of its New York store inside Henri Bendel and another showroom in SoHo. “Those are both going so well that we decided we wanted to share the love with some of our West Coast customers. In particular, we’ve seen so many women who are renting dresses and sending them directly to Las Vegas for their special, fun getaway trips,” says Jenny Fleiss, Rent the Runway’s co-founder and head of business development. While the Cosmo shop (opening December 27) will only be here for three months, Fleiss says the company is looking at all kinds of ways to grow and using such “shorter-term arrangements” to test the ever-changing business model. Or, as she says, “Nothing’s too crazy; we like crazy.”

Why open in Vegas right after Christmas? Fleiss points out that with New Year’s Eve, the Consumer Electronics Show, Valentine’s Day and other big events mixed in with the constant flow of visitors hoping for a once-in-a-lifetime weekend, there could not be a better time or place. The selection of the Cosmo as a brand partner was just as much of a no-brainer, Fleiss says. As soon as customer data pointed this way, she says Rent the Runway reached out, and the Cosmo was quick to see the potential.

Rent the Runway

Despite being a pop-up, the boutique will provide “a full-blown Rent the Runway experience,” Fleiss says. A production team is busy putting the finishing touches on the space, which will hold more than 1,000 dresses as well as accessories like jewelry and bags and items for purchase ranging from undergarments to makeup. “Let’s say they even lost their luggage, or they didn’t want to travel with their outfit. We can outfit them head to toe and not have them worry about a thing and work with one of our Go-To Girls, which is our name for our stylists, to also make sure that they have an outfit that’s just right for their body type.”

In Vegas, what’s right for a body type—and a personality—is a little different than in other destinations. Fleiss says the Rent the Runway fashion team did its research on Vegas style and trends and considered all of the occasions and big events happening on the horizon to curate the collection. The “Cocktail Menu” of options will have the clothes organized in categories: The Manhattan (“floor-length and fabulous gowns”), The Lemon Drop (“sweet silhouettes”) and The Fireball (“sequins cocktail dresses”). Rental prices range from $50-$450 for up to 48 hours, and styles come in sizes 0-22 and represent more than 190 designer brands.

“To name a few: Robert Rodriguez, RVN, Badgley Mischka,” Fleiss says. “The great thing is that we can leverage our stock of about 60,000 dresses that we have in our warehouse in New Jersey and keep replenishing … and changing it up depending on the events that are happening.”

So what is the desired Vegas look, according to customer trends?

“Flashy, tight, show-stopping—a lot of people actually wanting all eyes on them. … We want those dresses that make someone look twice,” Fleiss says. “Vegas really is on a whole other level from the rest of the country.”

So, brace yourself for a flood of sequins and tight bandage dresses, done beautifully by top designers (see the slideshow embedded in this story for a taste of the styles you’ll find). As Fleiss says, these looks might not make sense for you to buy for your everyday life, but for your fantasy in Vegas, what could be more appropriate? Rent the Runway is introducing same-day rentals at the Cosmo boutique and will offer packages for group rentals and parties, and you can book an appointment online for a personal styling session with a Go-To Girl. Once the store opens it will stay that way from 1-10 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and noon-9 p.m. on Sunday. Let’s hope it’s the seed for something more permanent.

“Vegas is a place where everyone wants to feel luxurious and aspirational, so if we can add some sequins and luxury to, whether it’s your trip or just your special event or evening out, that’s really what we want to be there to do,” Fleiss says. “When we talk to people who are visiting Las Vegas it seems like fewer are going specifically to gamble. There’s a much more diverse set of interests, of which fashion is certainly a part. So if we can provide an engaging experience around that that is unique, then it’s a wonderful offering for Cosmopolitan guests and for everyone in Las Vegas.”

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