I’ll Wear What She Wore

Jennifer Lopez’s Balmain custom dress and/or Alex Rodriguez’s custom Balmain tux can be yours…if your price is right. Photo and Sketch: Balmain

Celebrity’s gently used dresses, purses, shoes and more have become a major presence in the philanthropic world, and demand for access to them seems to be growing. Before Jenny from the Block had even hung up her gown from this year’s Met Gala, Balmain announced it would be auctioning it off at  with 100% of the proceeds going toward the RED organization, with the goal of eliminating mother to infant HIV transmission. This was specifically the brainchild of Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing – one of a growing number of young designers determined to make a difference for those who come from adversity. (Rousteing himself was orphaned at birth,and has been outspoken about the HIV Aids crisis and its impact on orphans around the world).

Meanwhile over at fashion super stars like Poppy Delevigne, Millie Bobby Brown and Kate Moss are donating some of their own luxury handbags, shoes and wallets to help raise money for The Wild at Heart Foundation, to help reduce the world’s 600 million stray dog population.

Nicole Kidman’s Givenchy gown and Reese Witherspoon’s Vera Wang gown both went for auction in February on eBay to support the Time’s Up Legal Defence Fund. Photo: Getty

Auctioning celebrity-loved goods is a win win for everyone. The fan, the collector, the fashion hound and the charity all stand to benefit from gentle recycling of designer product. Back in February, Time’s Up, Condé Nast and eBay joined together to auction off the all black Golden Globes dresses to benefit the Time’s Up Legal Defence Fund. To scoop up a Givenchy or a Vera Wang for one eighth the retail cost is a score in itself but if you are teeny enough to squeeze yourself into the same frock Nicole Kidman or Reese Witherspoon squeezed into…well that makes it even more fun. Add to that the conversation starter potential of a celeb worn gown, the feel good factor of supporting a charity,  and hands up who DOESN’T want in on this shopping high?

Clockwise from bottom left: Poppy Delevigne’s Fendi “Dot Com” bag, Millie Bobby Brown’s Coach “Dinky” bag and Kate Moss’ fringed Stuart Weitzman Nudist sandals are up for grabs at to benefit pet rescue efforts. 

Yes size does matter here. Most celebrities clock in at a size 36 European which is a size 0 or a 2, so for some, gowns are out. Unless you fancy yourself a collector or know a very nimble seamstress. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of some ridiculous steals on super luxe celebrity-loved shoes or handbags. It’s not likely Kate Moss trashed her Weitzman heels the two times she wore them, and if she did she’s not putting them up for auction. The pieces up for grabs are always labelled “nearly new” or “gently used” and that will usually translate to “worn once”.

If you still want a piece of the fun but don’t measure up size wise, there is also the opportunity to pose behind the velvet rope by attending an A-list runway show at one of the international Fashion Weeks. This past Fall, the highest bidders won access to the hottest runway shows in Italy including Versace, Armani, Etro, Marni and Fausto Puglisi. Unlike a standard invite, these ones included a meet-and-greet with the designer or coveted backstage access. The Versace package went for somewhere around 700 euros, equal to $830 USD. Proceeds went to a number of charities including Operation Smile Italia. The winner, who paid $500 USD on CharityStars website for two tickets to the Ferragamo show and also received two passes to the celebrity laden after-show cocktail party, sure had a hot Instagram feed that night. At Marina Rinaldi, someone was enjoying two passes to the private capsule presentation of the collection with Ashley Graham, who was present alongside the special guest Skin, while feeling pretty good about supporting Lila Milano Onlus in the fight against AIDS.

A caption from CharityStars Instagram account highlighting the auction to attend Etro’s SS18 runway show and go backstage afterwards. Photo: CharityStars Instagram

Poshmark’s celebrity program helps stars raise money for their favorite charities while decluttering their wardrobes. So you might not be looking at an iconic piece, but you can have access to a super stylish piece that sold out before you could source it. While celebrities have long used The RealReal as an outlet to sell their clothing and accessories, anonymously, lately there’s an inclination to go public with their closet clean outs and give the funds or a portion thereof to charity. In the past year Lena Dunham, as well as four Kardashians (Khloé, Kris, Kendall and Kylie) have done so. Dunham sold costumes from Girls, a Met Gala gown, and more than 150 items from her closet, totalling a 20k donation to Planned Parenthood.

Lena Dunham sold this custom Elizabeth Kennedy gown, costumes from Girls and more to raise 20k for Planned Parenthood on The RealReal. She gave all her profits to the charity. Photo:

The RealReal takes 30 percent of profits from sales on their site to cover costs of authentication, shipping and photography. The remainder goes to the seller who can deposit the proceeds directly to their personal bank accounts, give a portion to a charity or, like Lena Dunham, gift the entire amount. Language like “a portion of proceeds” is a tip off that the whole enchilada may not be gong to the good cause.

Whether it’s 100 percent or 50 percent going to benefit an army of well-deserving charities, the celebrity closet purge is bringing back the old adage that one woman’s trash is indeed another’s treasure, if not the world’s.

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