Lease the life you've dreamed of
Want to drive the hottest Ferrari, catch some rays on the deck of a yacht, dress red carpet worthy or get your hands on the latest "it" bag? You can have it all.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - We are fascinated with the lifestyles of the rich and famous but the cars, the clothes and even the homes may not be as farfetched as they seem.
If you want to drive the hottest new Ferrari, spend the afternoon on a 40-foot yacht, wear an Oscar worthy gown or get your hands on the latest "it" bag, you can rent it all for a fraction of the price of buying.
The "it" bag
With a new "it" bag in fashion every minute, most non-celebrities can't even try to keep up.
Enter Bag, Borrow or Steal, the Netflix for designer handbags. According to your membership level, you can choose a bag from the web site (www.bagborroworsteal.com), keep it for as long as you want, then return it for the next bag of your choice.
At the popular Trendsetter level, for $19.95 a month you have access to bags from several designers, including Coach, Dooney & Bourke and Nine West.
The Princess level costs $49.95 a month and gets you a wider selection of handbags that includes offerings from Kate Spade, Betsey Johnson and Cole Haan.
If you pony up $99.95 a month for the Diva membership, you have access to bags by Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Burberry and Tod's. As a Diva member, you can also borrow bags from the couture collection (for an additional fee), which means you can get your hands on the latest high-end bags that retail for upwards of $1,000.
In addition to your membership cost, there is a $9.95 shipping charge each time you borrow a bag and optional insurance is an additional fee.
"Bag, Borrow or Steal is not so much about saving money, it's about access," said Michael Smith, president and CEO.
The company plans to add a selection of women's jewelry and watches by Tiffany, David Yurman and others to the offerings in the spring and there are "close to a dozen other categories we want to explore," according to Smith.
Red carpet ready
If you really want to look the part, you can rent the clothes that make the woman. Irene Albright founded her own fashion library in 1990 where celebrities, socialites and even you and me can get a red-carpet worthy look.
Albright Inc.'s showroom boasts between 5,000 and 6,000 dresses and every pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes ever made. Most of the gowns run in 2s, 4s and 6s, but there are also some 8s and 10s, according to showroom director Patricia Black.
Albright focuses on very high-end fashion from Christian Dior, Monique Lhuillier and Reem Akra and most of the gowns retail for $3,000-$10,000. "They rent for about 10 percent to 20 percent of that cost," Black said. Prices for en evening ensemble (which includes shoes and a bag) start at $500 but can go up to $2,000.
Most of the apparel is used primarily for photo shoots, red carpet events or movies (most recently Albright supplied duds for The Devil Wears Prada, a soon-to-be-released film starring Meryl Streep), but the company is increasingly getting the attention of people outside the business who want to look extra-special at their special event.
Baby you can drive my car
Of course it's not just about where you are going but also about how you get there. After a quick background check, you can lease a Lamborghini Gallardo, Ferrari F430 or Rolls Royce Phantom with chauffeur for a day.
New York-based Gotham Dream Cars will deliver a car to your doorstep, give you an EZ pass so you won't be bothered with paying tolls and even load the car's CD changer with the music of your choice. Membership is free but rentals will cost you anywhere from $795 for 12 hours in a Ferrari to $3,300 for a half day in the backseat of a Rolls.
Gotham's CEO Noah Lehmann-Haupt, whose clients include "Wall Streeters, the Hamptons crowd, actors and professional sports figures," says that many customers would consider buying the car but want to try it out first. "We're saying, look, spending a few thousands dollars before making the investment," but there are also a lot of people that "rent for the heck of it."
The whole shebang
Still want more? Miami-based Carefree Lifestyle will get you anything from a mansion on South Beach to a Ferrari, a stretch limo, a yacht or a Learjet. They will even park a pair of wave runners at the dock and make dinner reservations for you.
"You can call and get a home, an Escalade, a Lamborghini, a chef and a private jet," said Anthony Marotta, a founding partner of Carefree Lifestyle with five years in the business.
The concierge company not only caterers to celebrities in town for the Video Music Awards or actors on location, but also to wealthy vacationers in search of an escape. The company already has over 5,000 clients from all over the world although membership starts out $75,000.
Marotta explains that a lot of times it's not worth it for his clients to buy their own house, jet or sports car. "Some of the people can afford to buy our products but wouldn't get enough use out of them."
With Carefree's staff available 24/7 for you convenience, that means you also get to enjoy a little more of the ultimate luxury -- time.
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