Designer Room: The secret to wearing designer dresses without emptying your bank account

It was wall-to-wall glamour at the fifth annual IMAGE Business of Beauty Awards at The Clayton Burlington Hotel this past April. However, not every Roland Mouret creation in the room belonged to the body it dressed.

There is a secret knack to dressing to the nines in an affordable manner and a number of the attendees, and in fact, several members of the IMAGE Team were in on the act on the night. Designer Room in Dublin 4, rents out designer dresses for every occasion, designed by a multitude of haute couture fashion houses and designers.

Pictured Rachael Gallivan and Ciara Cosgrove wearing dresses from Designer Room

Designer Room makes wearing a dress by Preen, Gucci, Roksanda or Victoria Beckham a reality. Owner Rhoda McDonagh took redundancy into her own hands in 2017 when she decided to use her marketing acumen to start up her dream business. As a fashion lover, she was often looking at beautiful yet unaffordable dresses online and felt there was a gap in the market for a place where women could hire a dress to wear for one-off occasions.


As a mother of two, Rhoda also appreciates the need busy women have for flexibility. This is why she offers appointments outside of the usual business hours. Her user-friendly website allows clients to browse through a gallery of dress options and schedule their appointment. Her showroom is on the top floor of her own house, which is steeped in history; it used to be Padraig Pearse's residence. The room itself is flooded with natural light and is a comfortable and relaxing space for women to try on potential dresses.

Rhoda says nothing makes her happier than helping a client feel great about herself. She loves when a woman comes back to rehire a favourite dress or find something new. Rhona finds that women come to her to hire dresses to host events or to attend semi-formal business meetings and it's important to her to support women in business as well as pleasure. This start-up began with ten dresses and stock has grown to one hundred and ten. But the secret of the Designer Room is spreading - Millie Mackintosh rented a dress from here on her last trip to Ireland. Rhoda likes to invest in the product as a priority, but something tells us Designer Room will not be a well-kept secret for much longer.


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