The A-List frock that everyone can rock! Kate, Carrie and co can’t get enough of this showstopper dress – Thanks to the trend for renting clothes, we can all dazzle in a design by The Vampire’s Wife for a fraction of the price
- The Vampire’s Wife green dress has been seen on the Duchess of Cambridge
- Prices for the designer brand start at £750, rising to £2,250 for a midi-length
- Rental platform By Rotation reports that its size six green lamé version has been rented more than 25 times this summer, with demand for all if its 217 designs
Every so often, a dress comes along that captures women’s imaginations so completely that you begin to see it everywhere. The Vampire’s Wife’s dress is one such creation. Svelte of body, fluted of sleeve and in myriad prints, fabrics and hues, the only off-putting thing about it is the lofty price tag. A cotton iteration starts at £750, rising to £2,250 for a midi-length version in metallic silk lamé.
Happily for the budget-conscious, these prices are no longer prohibitive. For a more modest sum, fans can still wear the dress, albeit for only a weekend. For if 1967 was the Summer of Love, 2022 is the Summer of Dress Rental. A variety of sites have sprung up to offer affordable lending services to the increasing numbers of women looking for a sustainable answer to the perennial question of ‘what to wear’ to the events in their diaries.
The must-rent of the season? A Vampire’s Wife dress. Rental site By Rotation reports that its size six green lamé version alone has been rented more than 25 times this summer, with strong demand for all 217 designs across the site. The popularity of the dress can partly be explained by its celebrity fans, who include Sienna Miller, Salma Hayek, Natalie Portman, Thandiwe Newton, Chloë Grace Moretz, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Holly Willoughby, Kylie Minogue, Alexa Chung and Florences Pugh and Welch. The Duchess of Cambridge also chose the brand’s Falconetti design for her and Prince William’s first official joint portrait.
The Flower Wower! Ali Belamant, 35, rented her Belle No11 Botanical Print dress from byrotation.com for a wedding in the Peak District. Cost to rent: £90 for three days. Cost to buy: £995
It’s incredibly flattering on most body shapes. Last summer, Carrie Johnson rented the satin floral dress from My Wardrobe HQ for the G7 dinner at the Eden Project in Cornwall. This summer, lots more women have chosen it for special occasions of their own. Did they bump into ten other women wearing it? Did they love it enough to make it their own? Let’s find out I’ve always adored The Vampire’s Wife dresses ‒ there’s something so special about the cut, the detailing and the delicate material. They feel feminine and mystical. Coincidentally, founder Susie Cave recently moved to the medieval town where I live in Sussex, and created a scented candle inspired by the area’s history. This engaged me more.
The Vampire’s Wife is popular among many celebrities including the Duchess of Cambridge and Natalie Portman
Prices for the designer brand start at £750, rising to £2,250 for a midi-length. It has been seen on Keeley Hawes and Holly Willoughby
I’ve dreamed of wearing one of these dresses for years, but would never be able to afford to buy one. I was due to go to a wedding on the Jubilee bank holiday weekend and the dress I’d bought didn’t arrive in time. I went to Selfridges to buy something else and noticed a pop-up for the fashion rental site Hurr. It was my boyfriend who spotted the gold, shimmering sleeve of the Falconetti design. He pulled the dress out, asking if this was that designer I liked. Instantly, it made sense: why spend £100 on something I didn’t feel special in and might not wear again, when I could spend a similar amount and have memories of a dress I truly loved?
The shape was flattering, and the colour was perfect. I received lots of compliments on the day ‒ everyone loved it.
The Glittery Gown! Flo van der Spek, 30, rented her Festival dress from byrotation.com for her 30th birthday dinner in London. Cost to rent: £128 for three days Cost to buy: £1,765
I always rent clothes for special occasions and holidays: it’s better for the planet and my bank balance. As a clumsy person, I do get nervous about spilling things on them, but nothing disastrous has happened yet. I’d loved The Vampire’s Wife dresses for years, and a spring wedding felt like the perfect opportunity to wear one. It seems like every celebrity from the Duchess of Cambridge to Natalie Portman has been seen wearing the label, but I hadn’t spotted anyone in the exact style I went for, which was a long-sleeved midi in a floral print. It was the right choice: the ceremony was very traditional, and it was appropriate for the setting. I paired it with chandelier pearl earrings and silver strappy heels from & Other Stories.
The brand has many flattering shapes and beautiful designs as seen on Elizabeth Reaser and Rachel Weisz
Fortunately, no one at the wedding was wearing the same dress and the Belle design was a great ice-breaker, with quite a few guests asking me how the rental process worked. As fabulous as I felt, I wouldn’t buy it. I’m the kind of person who wants to try another dress for my next event. Playing dress-up in designer dresses is too much fun to commit to just one.
The Gold Star! Megan Murray, 30, rented her Falconetti dress from hurrcollective.com for a wedding in Sussex. Cost to rent: £120 for three days Cost to buy: £1,595
I wanted something special for my party – and a dress by The Vampire’s Wife had been on my radar for a while. I had been to pretty much every high-street store and couldn’t find anything that I felt great in or that was special enough. The idea of hiring a design came to me late in the day, but when it did, I had my heart set on a dress by this label. The one I ended up wearing wasn’t the style I was originally looking for, as you’re limited by what’s available in your size when renting. I hadn’t seen this specific design before ‒ initially I wanted the shorter Falconetti dress seen on all the celebs ‒ but I ended up loving it. Given its popularity, I’m thankful I was the only one wearing it!
The Vampire’s Wife brand is popular on rental platform By Rotation. Seen here on Suranne Jones and Carrie Johnson
I would consider renting again. It opens up so many options, particularly for high-end items that you might not want to splurge on for a one-off event. I also like the idea that it is a more sustainable way of dressing. Would I ever buy a Vampire’s Wife dress? As much as I loved it, I wouldn’t wear it enough to justify the price. However, I will definitely rent one again ‒ I just need an occasion.
The Fairytale Frock! Kelly Stone, 40, rented her Cinderella dress from hurrcollective.com for her 40th birthday in South London. Cost to rent: £121.66 for four days Cost to buy: £895
I’d already rented a black Falconetti for Christmas, but for my 30th I wanted something really special. I spotted the sparkly pink Festival dress and fell in love. I’d organised a fancy sit-down dinner and wanted something chic and playful, and it fitted the bill. I wore it with some purple Terry De Havilland heels I’ve had since I was 18, and a black vintage Accessorize bag.
I often rent clothes and also rent out my own clothes: I’ve made over £500 in the past month alone. Renting is a fun way to experiment without committing to buying. If it’s for a big party, I’d rent items that couldn’t be easily damaged, but if the worst happened, I’d be open with the lender.
I love the community aspect of renting. The By Rotation app lets you see the person who owns it, and how she styles it. The owner of the dress I rented also had photos of other women who’ve borrowed it, so I could see how it looked. The dress had loads of positive reviews, which encouraged me. I loved borrowing it. Luckily, no one else was wearing anything similar – but lots of people wanted ca to rent it after seeing mine.