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The Prom Dress Moves Into the Designer Leagues

For those without the means (or generous parents) for such frocks, the online service Rent the Runway, which rents designer dresses for a period of four days for 10 to 15 percent of the retail price, has taken aim at high school girls attending prom, which Jennifer Fleiss, a founder of the company, called “the first magical Cinderella-evening moment.”

Another founder, Jennifer Hyman, described wearing a designer dress to prom as a kind of sartorial gateway drug, priming a customer for the future moment when she is able to afford high-end brands. “It’s often your first taste,” said Ms. Hyman, who wore a Carmen Marc Valvo to her own prom (New Rochelle High School, 1998). “You will remember that brand you wore to prom and will want to have that brand in your closet.”