Fashion Fix: Meet the wardrobe fairy godmother who finds Elsa Hosk’s vintage pieces

"My dog ate my Chanel"

When Elsa Hosk needs a pair of Chanel flip flops, who does she call? Well according to industry insiders there's only one woman for the job. Shivani Dhillon has made a name for herself as the go-to person for finding those impossible to find pieces, from vintage Chanel bags to impossible to source Hermes goods for the world's biggest influencers. 

"If there was one client that I thought would never need my services it would have been Elsa Hosk," Shivani tells Hello! Fashion over email, "I have always admired her effortless style and when her request came in, I knew this was a moment to shine. I found her items in less than two hours, but it wasn't a coincidence that I managed to source a highly sought-after piece for her, the relationships that I have developed over time provides unrivalled access to pieces that are sold-out, or in high demand."

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Shivani Dhillon has made a name for herself as the go-to person for finding vintage pieces

Shivani's career in fashion began just after she graduated from Edinburgh College of Art. She had always dreamt of living in one of the fashion capital cities whether it was London, Paris, New York or Milan, so she applied for so many internships as possible and decided earn her stripes in the magazine world, "I was told if I could get an appointment for the editor to see Dior in Paris I would be given a chance, well let's say I made sure I got that appointment."

She started out as a personal assistant to the editor of that magazine and within a few years she was appointed Fashion Director, while working for Net-a-Porter alongside to help pay the bills. Her calling as a wardrobe concierge started after she made a profit selling a pair of designer shoes from Chanel, "My mum thought I was crazy to spend £450 on a pair of shoes but I didn't care," Shivani explains, "I got the call from the boutique after weeks of searching for them, I dropped everything and literally ran as fast as I could to buy them, the fear of them selling before I got there was constantly on my mind. I ended up purchasing a pair that were one size too small and hoped one day they would fit... unlike Cinderella's glass slipper mine did not, so I ended up selling them and made a small profit."

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Elsa Hosk's Wardrobe Couture-sourced Chanel flip flops

Shivani's love for buying rare pieces grew and sparked a realisation that she could turn her love of fashion and sourcing high end pieces into a potential business. "I used social media, showcasing the items I loved and that I could access from the surface but I never realised there was a whole world behind the store front," soon after Wardrobe Couture was born. 

We caught up with Shivani who told us how she sources pieces for the likes of Elsa Hosk, Pernille Teisbaek and Emili Sindlev and found out what pieces you should be investing in now….

How long does it take you to source a piece?

"Once a request comes in, I can usually find most items within 24 hours. For rarer or previous season items it can take a few weeks and in some rare instances a few months. This industry is so fast paced, by the time you locate something, it can be gone within the next five minutes." 

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A pair of shoes sourced for Pernille Teisbaek

How does the process work with your clients?

"My clients know exactly what they want, enquiries come in world-wide and my inbox is filled with endless requests. Chanel is by far the most requested brand for the business. Every request received is logged in and a quote is sent. That's when the fun or should I say sleepless nights begin. Over the past few years I have cultivated a global network of trusted industry contacts who I collaborate with to source and deliver straight off the runway, archival pieces, or coveted sold-out styles."

What vintage designer items should we be investing in now?

"Although it's my job to find pieces based on requests I also like to educate clients on which designer items are seasonal, which will go viral and which pieces are the ultimate investments. There's no denying the popularity of Hermes, over the last few months I've had an increasing number of requests come in for their Chypre sandals. The new suede emerald green is proving popular but the white still remains the current classic, and all year round favourite." 

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Emili Sindlev wear vintage Chanel earrings that Shivani found for her

"The Chanel SS22 collection had a lot of vintage references, if we take a look at the heart shaped vanity bag and mirror vanity bag from the 1990's there hasn't been anything remotely similar until now. I knew from the minute this collection launched my DM's would explode for one piece in particular and I was right. The Chanel heart bag made a comeback and graced the runway in multiple colour ways. The pink in particular being the current favourite and most requested colourway.

The Fendi Baguette is trending again thanks to the return of Sex and the City, who doesn't want to own an iconic piece from Carrie Bradshaw's closet? The demand for the iconic purple sequin baguette has risen significantly over the last few months and getting your hands on one has become near enough impossible at the moment."

Which brands are the best vintage investments? 

Forever classics from Hermes and Chanel are always worth the investment because the value consistently appreciates year after year, however the requests I enjoy receiving are for those which are one-time-opportunity pieces, because once the season ends, the bag will no longer be available. Old Celine archive pieces have become increasingly rare to find, I recently managed to source three brand new pieces of the brand's infamous grey coat and they sold within seconds (if you know you know.)

A piece definitely worth the investment?

"A limited-edition Chanel Flap Bag from the SS19 collection with pearls all over was one of the most requested pieces. At the time it retailed at £3,810 and now it fetches around £13,000. Over the last few years this particular piece has risen in value and will increase significantly over the next few years. Sometimes the people making these requests from me won't even wear the sourced item. For them it's more about the idea of owning an investment or piece of fashion history and passing it down to the next generation."

The Fendi baguette is an excellent investment according to Shivani

How do your VIP clients such as Elsa Hosk find you? 

"Social media plays a big role in how people shop and ultimately find me. Every market receives different stock which is why VIP clients find it difficult locating pieces because their local boutique didn't buy it or they are unable to get the item transferred in from another store. The power of trust and word of mouth goes a long way in this business, I would locate something for a VIP client and she would tell her friend, and next minute, that same friend is coming in to request it."

Have you had any "pinch me" moments since starting the business?

"Like all businesses I have experienced highs and lows, despite being incredibly grateful for the growth of the business and the clientele I get to work for this does not come without significant challenges. It is overcoming these challenges that enable the "pinch me" moments to be truly enjoyable. Most recently I have sourced a truly magical piece for musical genius, Tyler The Creator, who has over 11 million instagram followers. The fact I get to influence his style by sourcing incredible pieces is a privilege."

A Chanel heart bag from Shivani's wardrobe

"Being the go-to for some of the best dressed ladies in fashion, Elsa Hosk, Pernille Teisbaek, Emili Sindlev to name a few is something I am so proud of. The fact these ladies are influenced by the items I share on my platform is such a compliment and testament to why I do this. I still have "pinch me" moments when I see all these beautiful ladies wearing their #sourcedbywc pieces, it's so rewarding to see all those hours of hard work, tears (sometimes) and sweat have paid off." 

What's the most treasured item in your wardrobe? 

"The most treasured item in my wardrobe is in fact a piece that belonged to my great grandmother who I was extremely close with, after her passing one of her last wishes was for me to have her gold ring. This item doesn't carry much monetary value but it carries huge sentimental value, I don't leave home without it."

Shivani is always on the look out for one-off pieces

"On the contrary, the most valuable item in my wardrobe is a beautiful piece from from Karl Lagerfeld's Chanel 2018 pre-fall Collection. It's a precious off-white shearling mini top handle bag which I came across a few years ago. Since I purchased this, I have never come across another."

Have you ever not been able to source a piece?

"Whilst I've yet to find a request I couldn't fulfil there are certainly times when a popular item makes it very difficult to come by. Moments after Elsa Hosk posted the photo of her wearing her beige Chanel sandals with Wardrobe Couture tagged, I was firstly in complete shock and secondly completely inundated with requests for it, even as we speak more requests are coming in for this exact style."

What are you on the lookout for at the moment?

How long do you have? The list is endless, from Chanel's SS22 sold out bikini to Hermes Chypre sandals to Balenciaga's oversized padded denim jackets, I am always on the hunt and always on the go. As we speak I just received a message from a client whose dog just ate her Chanel heart bag, the requests do truly come in all shapes and sizes.

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