Of all the luxury goods out there, designer bags are my most sought after. And since I sadly never want Kylie Jenner’s color-coded closet filled with immaculate purses touting brands like Hermès, ChanelBalenciaga and more, I settled for the next best (realistic) thing: a Swirling monthly membership ($39 and up). That rental subscription service allowing those without Hollywood budgets to borrow designer handbags and jewelry on a monthly basis, providing access to the world of luxury in a sustainable way.
I tested the subscription with POPSUGAR’s editor-in-chief Said Strehlke and fashion director Jessica Andrewswho both styled their Vivrelle pieces for New York Fashion Week this fall. Because I live close to Vivrelle’s NYC showroom, I decided to check out the accessories in person, although you can easily go through the process online as well. I consider myself a smart shopper, always thinking about practicality and value, and most importantly asking myself, “Is it worth it?” But signing up for this service allowed me to throw all that rational thought out the window. I would go for a fun, trendy bag that maybe wasn’t that versatile; one that I would never find “worth the price” but I absolutely loved anyway.
“Vivrelle is officially my secret weapon.”
With my Couture membership courtesy of Vivrelle, I was able to borrow an item from its full inventory of purses, jewelry and limited edition jewelry. After touring the bright showroom filled with walls of handbags from brands like Dior, Celine and Bottega Veneta, I ended up choosing Chanel Vintage lambskin Cosmos Line belt bag ($199, Couture Membership), which has a retail value of $4,100. I would never typically buy such a specific style and a bag this small (it’s only five inches wide), but I was immediately drawn to the color and thought it would be perfect for a music festival I’m going to later this month.
I was surprised to get so much use out of the bag over the course of the month and trying something new led me to discover a new purse style that took me out of my fashion comfort zone. After 30 days I went back to Vivrelle afterwards to exchange it, although you can also send your item back for free. As the choice of the month, Strehlke chose Prada Nappa Bomber Convertible Medium Tote ($99, Classique Membership), which retails for an estimated $2,400, while Andrews chose Balenciaga Angeau Classic Mini City Bag ($99, Classique membership), valued at $1,850.
Read on for all the details on exactly how Vivrelle works and our thoughts on whether it’s worth the price.
How does Vivrelle work?
First, you need to fill out an application that will only take a few minutes to complete. Once you have applied, you are on a waiting list until you are approved. The company recommends that new members use codes from ambassador program partners to jump to the top of the waiting list. Once you’ve been approved, you’ll be able to progress with any of the four tiers and start swapping out a luxury part each month. If you fall in love with your item, you can also keep it for as long as you want, as Vivrelle has no return date. Here are the following membership options:
- Premier is the most affordable option at $39/month, including access to jewelry with a retail value of $1,000 or less.
- Classique is the most popular choice at $99/month, which allows for any jewelry or bag sold under $4,000.
- Couture costs $199/month, and you’ll be able to rent any item in Vivrelle’s inventory, including jewelry, purses, and limited-edition jewelry.
- Couture+, priced at $299/month, is a combination of Classique and Couture. It is the only option that lets you borrow two pieces at a time; the rest allow only one.
These prices can also be discounted if you are willing to prepay three, six or 12 months in advance.
What I like about Vivrelle
“Vivrelle is officially my secret weapon,” says Andrews. “I usually buy all my designer bags resale – as they’re more affordable and better for the environment – but this service takes my bag game to another level. I can experiment with trendier styles without committing to buying them – like the Chanel PVC- the bag you’ve loved for years.” Editors also appreciate the abundance of luxury options it offers: “I love that they have so many high-end—from Prada, Gucci, and Chanel—options for people to rotate their bags,” says Strehlke.
Jessica Andrews with Balenciaga Angeau Classic Mini City Bag by Vivrelle. Image source: Darrell Hunter
We know shopping resale is better for the environment, but borrowing resold items takes sustainability to the next level. It’s fun to be able to experiment with trendy bags and bright, statement colors, and you don’t have to compromise on a fashion-forward aesthetic while prioritizing environmental impact. “I reduce my carbon footprint by carrying existing styles instead of buying a brand new bag, which reduces waste,” adds Andrews.
What is worth noting about Vivrelle
The no return date rule comes with both pros and cons – it’s great to be able to keep something you love, but not so great when you’ve spotted a particular bag that hasn’t been available for months. When I visited the showroom, there were several styles I was originally interested in that were already on loan, while some had a little too much wear for my liking.
Sade Strehlke with Prada Nappa Bomber Convertible Medium Tote from Vivrelle. Image source: Darrell Hunter
Andrews has a few expert tips for grabbing your top picks. “Add every style of bag you want to your wish list, even if it’s not available, so you’ll get an automatic email when it’s back in stock and available for rent. A birdie also told me they’re adding new bags to page on Thursdays, so be sure to check the page that day.”
But most importantly, our biggest piece of advice to get the most out of the service is to have fun with it. “Experiment! If you’re on the fence about an expensive bag or how something will fit into your wardrobe, this is a great way to test it out without commitment,” says Strehlke.
Who is Vivrelle best for?
Whether you’re on a tight budget, want to reduce your carbon footprint or just want to change accessories, Vivrelle is for every type of thrift shopper. It’s especially useful for “the high-low shopper who loves to pair designer with cheaper items” or those who regularly attend various events and outings, and as Strehlke mentions, especially during the holidays.
Andrews adds, “For me, I go to a lot of events and share my style Instagram and TikTok, so I love having an endless rotation of trendy bags to play with. But if you’re looking for a classic style that you can wear regularly, Vivrelle is great for that too, because you can keep bags you love and even buy them for resale.”
Yerin Kim with Chanel Vintage Lambskin Cosmos Line belt bag from Vivrelle. Image source: POPSUGAR Photography / Yerin Kim
Is Vivrelle Worth the Splurge?
While Vivrelle is certainly worth the rewards, the Classique and Couture memberships in particular “make a world of difference,” Andrews says. If you just want to try any luxury handbag, $99/month for the Classique level is a solid price tag. “But if you’re someone who really loves Chanel and you know you’re going to rent a lot of it, it’s worth it to jump to Couture as best Chanel styles is in that collection,’ she says.
- If you end up wanting to keep your borrowed piece, you can purchase it at a special “members only” price. In fact, I was so obsessed with my piece that I asked about the price and strongly considered taking the plunge.
- You can freeze your membership for $10/month after you have been a member for at least three months and have returned any outstanding items. “It was a service very much rental programs didn’t offer when we were going into quarantine in 2020, and that’s really helpful,” notes Andrews.
- All Vivrelle bags and accessories are covered by standard insurance, which includes normal wear and tear. Premium insurance is also available for an additional fee that includes accidental damage.