If pre-owned fashion was once taboo, today the market is buoyant. A vibrant vintage scene coupled with innovative designer resale websites such as Vestiaire Collective and Resee have made buying secondhand fashion more stylish than ever. Also making waves is Paris-based Collector Square, courtesy of its unique mix of old-world experience and new-world savvy.
Co-founded by Nicolas Orlowski – founder and CEO of French auction house Artcurial – and internet entrepreneur Löic Bocher, Collector Square specialises only in handbags, watches and jewellery and has some 10,000 objects in stock. The items are priced according to a piece of pioneering technology: an in-house-built luxury index that tracks more than 300,000 auction results. Looking for a two-tone ostrich leather Hermès Birkin bag? Collector Square’s LuxPrice-Index gives results from the biggest salerooms worldwide over the past 10 years, including when that exact piece came to auction, its estimate and for how much it sold.
Each and every item is individually photographed, complete with 360-degree views, and goes through a strict vetting process. Handbags, for example, have to pass the eagle eye of Jérôme Lalande, who also works for Hermès, seeking out rare pieces for its museum. The Hermès Kelly, he says, is Collector Square’s bestseller, with some five to 10 bags sold per day (a grey leather Kelly recently sold for £9,308). But browsers will delight in rich pickings from many of the top brands, such as a classic Louis Vuitton monogrammed vanity case (£1,340), a beautiful Chanel pink patent leather Boy bag (£3,166) or a vintage-style logo-print Dior Diorama bag (£2,410).
On the watch front, visitors can pick up the pieces that have been making auction headlines – a c2007 gold Rolex Daytona (£21,310) or a c1980 ladies’ Patek Philippe Calatrava (£9,431) with Roman numerals and a barely worn brown lizard strap – without needing to wait for sale day. There are plenty of entry-level watches too, including a timeless c2000 Hermès Kelly-Cadenas (£680) or a square-dialled stainless-steel Cartier Panthère (£1,300). And the jewellery selection offers a mix of bestseller branded pieces – Van Cleef & Arpels Pure Alhambra (white gold and mother-of-pearl earrings, £5,150) and Cartier’s Trinity lines are always hot tickets – and unsigned vintage items. A fabulous 1970s-style ridged gold ring (£3,490) with a trio of baguette-cut amethysts is a real showstopper.