A Fashionista's Best Friend

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Social Life

August 2005

By Jen Ortiz

Picture this: You’re prepping for the social event of the year. Knowing the photogs’ camera lenses will be in full force all night long, you take your time getting ready, paying attention to every tiny detail. You finish by slipping on the very stunning and very luxurious dress you ordered just for tonight. As you glide through the party, you pose for pictures, accept compliments on your fashion finds, and bask in the glow of the night. Then it happens. A drink is spilled. You slowly look down, afraid of what you might see as the clumsy culprit nervously slips away. Now, not only do you have to dodge the party’s photographers to hide the stain, but what was once the most beautiful design in your closet is completely ruined. What’s a girl to do?

Nothing will ruin your night out on the town faster than getting a drink accidentally spilled on your gorgeous, new dress. If that new dress happens to be a Nicolas Ghesquiere designed couture gown, your life might just be over, right? Au contraire! There is a way to save both your amazing one-of-a-kind creation and your sanity. New York’s luxury lifestyle staple, Madame Paulette, can solve any sort of designer dress disaster—just ask one of their clients; a long list that includes such fabulous names as design houses Vera Wang, Fendi, Versace and Valentino as well as Melania Trump, Naomi Campbell, and Kelly Ripa.

With a strong sense of family and tradition at the basis of the company’s foundation, Madame Paulette has been saving the closets of fashionable New Yorkers for three generations. The family owned business was started by the great-uncle of today’s president and owner, John Mahdessian, when he and his wife arrived to New York from Europe. As John tells us, “My great aunt had a beautiful collection of clothing from boutiques in France and Italy and was extremely particular that all her apparel be in pristine condition.” Smart girl! That’s when John’s great-uncle decided to found the company in order to help his wife and other fashionistas just like her. He named the company in honor of her, Madame Paulette.

John’s involvement in the company came as a pleasant surprise to both him and his family — “I never had any aspirations to become involved in the dry-cleaning business. I graduated from Villanova University with a degree in Business Administration and accepted an offer to work for one of New York’s most prestigious investment banking firms.” With his future career path seemingly established, John spent the summer before heading into the world of finance helping his father with the company, “I agreed to help out my father for about one month, and it was during that time that I realized my father needed me on a full-time basis.” In keeping with the focus on family that lies at the heart of Madame Paulette’s success, John decided to put aside his own aspirations to help turn Madame Paulette into what it is today.

John spent much of his time researching and experimenting with different processes and techniques, setting a new standard for his field; as John promised us, “Every garment that comes to Madame Paulette is carefully analyzed and the method of cleaning used is dependent on what that particular garment needs.” This isn’t just your average corner dry cleaners! John has also had a hand in developing a Customized Care Label program that aids fashion houses with the maintenance of their collections — “I can test any fabric a designer selects to use for their collections, including finished ensembles and dictate the proper care and in turn save them from unnecessary returns.”

Because of their renowned expertise in custom couture, interior, and bridal cleaning and restoration, Madame Paulette has been the solution to any cleaning woes by individuals from all over the fashion industry. For the 2006 AngloMania fashion exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Madame Paulette was chosen to work on many delicate and unique garments that were featured. Madame Paulette was also requested to restore and preserve a number of vintage Coco Chanel pieces from the 1920s and 30s for a world-wide fashion museum tour. However, Madame Paulette is not just for fashion designers and museum exhibitions. As John explained, “Anyone in New York that takes pride in their apparel and wants their clothing properly cared for” will love Madame Paulette.

Lucky for us, Madame Paulette currently has plans for expansion that will bring their amazing expertise to fashion fans all over the world. In the near future, Madame Paulette is acquiring a brand new, state-of-the-art flagship boutique that will be located next door to the existing flagship location. John plans to have showcase windows, “like Saks Fifth Avenue,” that will display current collections from various fashion and bridal designers. Next, Madame Paulette has its plans set for L.A., Palm Beach and possibly Chicago locations. Other cities Madame Paulette is looking into include Paris, Milan, London, and Dubai City.