Monday

Mabonneamie: Your Source Of Designer Dresses

While renting luxury dresses has become trendy now, Axelle Bonamy defied the norms 10 years ago. Her showroom in Paris resembles a treasure cave filled with high-end fashion from Lanvin, Balmain, Givenchy and Elie Saab, to name a few.

Her goal is to allow each woman to experience her very own Cinderella moment, and Axelle told us all about it.

AM: Axelle, what inspired you to establish Mabonneamie?
I founded Mabonneamie in 2009. After a career in consulting and with a passion for fashion it felt like the right thing to do. I was often complimented on having a strong eye for fashion.

Back then I had a wedding and I was the bridesmaid, and while I was looking for gowns, I felt only drawn to designer brands that were pretty pricey. I eventually bought a quiet expensive one, but the following day, I realized that I wouldn’t wear it again since everybody has already seen me in it. Yet I believed that my dress would make another woman much happier.

And so I did some research, and luxury dress rental services didn’t exist in France as they did in New York and London. Hence I decided to be the first one.

AM: Who is your client?
My client is a lady who is from Paris or abroad, but she passes by Paris because she has a unique event (a wedding, gala, cocktail, red carpet, birthday…). She is seeking the right dress for her important moment. And that’s mainly our philosophy “You will have the perfect dress for your special occasion.”

She is 20 to 70-years old, but more specifically, she leads an active lifestyle and appreciates clothes from designer brands of good material and fitting. She can buy fast fashion dresses but her taste doesn’t permit her.

AM: And how can she rent a dress?
She can either order online or visit our showroom in Paris to try it on. If the dress is short it becomes a matter of size. If it is a long gown, we do some minor adjustments at our showroom or online when she specifies her measurements. And we do that for clients around France and Monaco, our pricing is around 10% of the retail price.

AM: In your opinion, why should women be proud of renting a dress rather than buying it?
Well, the mentality has changed tremendously since 10 years now. People are environmentally conscious and are aware that the fashion industry is one of the main sources of environmental harm. Today women know that their closets are saturated with clothes they don’t wear. Renting is about being responsible and an intelligent consumer. And that’s why women now are proud to flaunt their rented dresses and to tag us on Instagram with hashtags like #rentdontbuy.

AM: So how do you source the dresses?
I select the dresses with different criteria in mind; first the model and the fitting. I always imagine one of my clients who is a woman with a real body type. I only shop from top brands. For me, it is not a question of season because a good dress transcends the current fads.

AM: But do you follow the fashion trends?
Of course, I have to keep my eyes on what is happening to see the evolution of fashion. For instance, I now select more colorful and patterned dresses than I did 10 years ago. It’s also to see what the woman of today wants. I am not keen on owning the very last collection because the industry of fashion is more about the style.

AM: Which brand is the most rented?
Paule Ka is definitely a hit, it could be simple but the fitting is just perfect and works for any body type.

AM: What is the oldest piece in your showroom?
The oldest would be from the early 2000s, but I purchase new dresses every 6 months. And at the end of the year we do private sales for our loyal clients.

AM: Do you have a particular piece with a unique story?
I have a funny one actually. A client who attended the Cannes Film Festival rented a very alluring dress, and while she was there actor Leonardo Di Caprio complemented her outfit, so she really wanted to buy it as a souvenir.

AM: Finally, what are your future plans for Mabonneamie?
We are currently thinking of expanding to nearby countries like Switzerland, Belgium and Germany.

To rent your dream dress, visit mabonneamie.com

Photos by Madhu Sundar
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