HERITAGE AUCTIONS PARTNERING WITH GARDE ROBE TO PROVIDE WORLD-CLASS SERVICES
By Barbara Tunick
Necessity is the mother of invention, says Doug Greenberg, vice president, sales and marketing at Garde Robe, the world’s first and only luxury wardrobe storage and Cyber Closet valet service.
It all began 20 years ago when its founder, like most of her fellow New York City apartment dwellers, didn’t have enough closet space. “She believed that there were many other people who had a similar need,” says Greenberg. And just like that, endless closet space was born.
Not having enough room to properly store luxury handbags and accessories is not only frustrating and inconvenient, but it can lead to costly damage, says Diane D’Amato, director of luxury accessories at Heritage Auctions. “I’ve seen countless bags that have been damaged or completely ruined because they’ve been improperly stored. Bags that are folded and piled on top of each other and kept in spaces that are not temperature controlled will impact the bags’ quality and appearance,” she says. “Garde Robe provides a unique and essential service. Together, we can offer clients a full range of the luxury accessories experience. Indeed, the needs and desires of our clients are closely intertwined.”
“How you store a bag will determine its value and longevity,” agrees Gerry Gallagher, owner and founder of Leather Surgeons, the world’s leading authority on handbag restoration, spa service and authentication. “Keeping your bag clean and healthy not only makes it look beautiful, it will also prolong its life. If you take care of it, a bag can easily last 100 years.”
THE DO’S & DON’TS OF LUXURY HANDBAGS
World-renowned luxury handbag restorer Gerry Gallagher shares four simple ways to extend the life, look and value of your luxury bag:
- Wrap a scarf or a twilly on your bag’s handles. Otherwise, the oils from your hand, lotion and sanitizer can discolor the leather.
- Put away the sanitizer. Its alcohol content will remove your bag’s color and leave stains. If you must carry it, make sure it’s sealed inside a plastic bag.
- Buy a handbag hook. The next time you go out, hang your bag from the edge of the table instead of placing it on the floor to keep it free from dirt, which will discolor the stitching and leather.
- Don’t let a light-colored shoulder bag rub against your jeans. Dye from even the most expensive jeans easily transfers to most bags.
That’s why Garde Robe inspects each bag for dirt or damage as soon as it is picked up. “A condition report is created for each item,” Greenberg says. “If there is any kind of pen mark or stain, we advise our clients to have the bag cleaned before it’s stored. We’ll then send it to Gerry or whomever the client chooses, before it’s photographed, cataloged and stored.
“Our preservation specialists provide museum level care,” he says, explaining that each item is wrapped in acid-free tissue, stuffed to maintain its shape before being stored in archival boxes in a climate-controlled, insect-free environment in New York and Los Angeles. “Our members trust us because every article is treated with the utmost care. And since access is critically important, our clients can view and manage their collection anytime online via the Cyber Closet.” Garde Robe also provides complimentary on-demand delivery and worldwide shipping.
“Assisting clients manage and curate their collections is essential,” says D’Amato. “It’s always a good idea to have a knowledgeable professional evaluate what to buy, sell and keep. Sometimes clients get bogged down by an emotional attachment to a bag. If they haven’t worn it, have no intention of wearing it, or just don’t like it anymore, I can help them decide if it’s worth consigning,” she says.
A partnership with Heritage Auctions “will provide a simple and seamless experience for Garde Robe members,” Greenberg says. “Not only can Diane help our clients decide what to consign, but she’s a great source at finding bags on their ‘Want Lists.’”
“It’s true. I love finding the unfindable,” D’Amato says. “The week before Christmas, a client contacted me. She wanted a very rare 20cm Hermes crocodile Kelly. After reaching out to several of my sources, I found the bag in Paris. The seller flew to, and hand delivered the bag in New York. It was then shipped to L.A. for same-day delivery. My client had the bag before Christmas Eve. She was thrilled and so was I!”
“This kind of private sale perfectly illustrates the difference between shopping with Heritage Auctions vs. a luxury retailer,” D’Amato says. “When a client walks into a boutique, she is limited by their available inventory. However, when she asks me to find something seemingly unattainable, I usually do because I have access to the most incredible closets in the world.”
BARBARA TUNICK is a New York-area writer who has written for numerous national magazines and newspapers, including The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Bark and Popular Science.