Visiting the newly opened Fashionphile showroom and authentication headquarters at the scenic Starrett-Lehigh building in West Chelsea is an experience on its own. But visiting the consignor of designer pieces with Katie Holmes—who is wearing a Marina Moscone pleated black dress, a Bottega Veneta bag, and Brother Vellies heeled sandals—is on another level. While Holmes is best known for her easy-luxe looks, she’s also known for adorning herself with artfully placed accessories. (The image of her wearing an oatmeal cardigan and bra set by Khaite that artfully slid down her shoulders while she hailed a taxi in 2019 will go down in history as one of the most iconic street style moments ever.) Fast-forward years later, we are receiving a Brittanica-worthy tour of the space from Sarah Davis, founder and president of Fashionphile, who takes us through the hyper-secure rows of bags, shoes, and accessories.
I follow Holmes, who has a hoop nose piercing and perpetually glowing skin, and Davis through the rows and rows of accessories. The showroom is like a large suburban home, except that it is packed full of luxury handbags and accessories. There is “the cage” which holds over 15,000 luxury items and over 400 pristine Hermès Birkin bags. In the front, there is a sushi-style conveyor belt of red-hot accessories where guests can pluck a Gucci bum bag or a Balenciaga City bag at their leisure. Fresh Tom Ford-era Gucci bag coming right up–monogram included!
A few considerations attract Holmes’ attention, including a Mickey Mouse print Gucci bag and Hello Kitty-themed Balenciaga bag, which she takes a picture of the and sends off. In the past I loved Mickey Mouse. I remember that the opening of the Disney store in the shopping mall was a big deal there when I was young.
Shopping at Fashionphile is fantastic because of the products, but the experience itself has many benefits. For one thing, it’s environmentally friendly. “We’re not at a time where [sustainability] sounds good, but at a time where we have to [care],” says Holmes. “It is scary, we don’t have a choice anymore.” Another advantage of shopping with Fashionphile is that you can save money on clothing while reducing your own carbon footprint. Holmes also notes that she just directed two films back to back, and takes time to re-use the costumes. “I’m very detail-oriented. I love costumes so much, and I love that it reveals so much about the character,” she says. “I save a lot of costumes and the idea is to use it for the next thing.”
Holmes assigns each bag a story, crafting a character for each accessory. She once told The New York Times: “I like the fantasy of the woman who can hold that bag; who has the sophistication to hold it. I admire that,” says Holmes. “I want to meet her!” At one point, her eyes dart to a bottom shelf where there is a plump little Bottega Veneta bag crafted completely out of verdant green rubber bands used for braces. “This is that downtown person who knows where every event and party is. I want to be friends with them,” says Holmes, who then turns to our photographer Aidan Doyle: a true It girl.
Holmes says she likes the idea of resale and vintage because they allow her to tell stories. In fact, she wrote and directed two short films based on vintage stories: “Alone Together,” premiering at the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival, and “Rare Objects,” about an antique store and the objects sold there. Resale and vintage items can have special histories behind them, which make them even more interesting for Holmes. She finds it thrilling to find an item that has been long forgotten but still holds a story within its seams.