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Meet the Reality Star Preserving The Jews’ Couture Clothing — And Judaica

John Mahdessian, give us some background on your company, Madame Paulette:

For more than 58 years, my third generation, family owned business has been acclaimed as the leader in cleaning, tailoring, restoration, and preservation; patronized by renowned Jewish designers such as Isaac Mizrahi, Donna Karan, and Ralph Lauren; celebrities like Jerry Seinfeld, Kate Hudson and Jonathan Cheban, high profile individuals such as Eli Safdieh, Ron Pearlman, and Dr. Ruth, and revered institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Our painstaking attention to detail has allowed us to maintain our reputation as the go-to apparel, couture, bridal and interior cleaning & restoration establishment in the United States.

Founder John Mahdessian attends Madame Paulette 55th Anniversary party and celebrates his birthday at Beautique on August 4, 2014 in New York City. Image by Getty Images

How does it feel to also be a reality tv star?

I have never thought of it like that, as I have always worked among high-profile people and celebrities in my family business, caring for their most prized possessions. I love coming in at the 11th hour and doing what no one else can do. Since supporting my partner Dorinda Medley on the Real Housewives of New York, it has been nothing but a roller coaster ride to say the least. As I have always taken pride in having a spotless reputation, this is one group of woman that is hard to clean around as there is so much mudslinging; I usually have to duck or exit left. But I am extremely proud of Dorinda as she is a very honest caring and loyal person and partner. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

How can people protect their outerwear during this cold, snowy, stainy weather?

As we are currently experiencing the worst inclement weather of the year, I recommend our all green fiber protection on any outer coats or garments which will protect them from staining, liquid spills, and actually keep garments water resistant.

What are some special techniques you use to clean and preserve gowns of Bar Mitzvah moms, wedding parties etc?

As leaders and pioneers in our industry, we have developed techniques and processes over the past 58 years that surpass even museum curators, allowing us to not only maintain the most intricate garments in the world, but restore what most people would think is totally ruined and unsalvageable. As our clientele is more than 50% Jewish, we have been cleaning, restoring and preserving some of the most sacred and religious items including Tallit shawls, Aron Kodesh, and Bemah structures. When it comes to one of your most celebrated occasions we have been cleaning restoring and preserving some of the most amazing gowns for Bar Mitzvahs and weddings including the celebrated mother’s gown and the entire wedding party from fittings to getting them dressed for that special day.

You bought Dorinda a gown from Israeli designer Inbal Dror last season? Why, and where is it now?

Yes it was a most spectacular gown that Beyoncé wore, that Dorinda fell in love with so as we work with the Designer, I asked them to recreate the same gown for Dorinda so she could wear it for a very special occasion. The gown is currently stored in our climate controlled storage vault at our corporate headquarters that can be requested, pulled or shipped the same day to any destination of Dorinda’s choice. I know that I will be by her side when she wears this spectacular gown but we both love taking advantage of the services I provide when we travel and go to special events.

What special care do give to your customer’s religious garments, like Tallit shawls?

As we know Tallit shawls are not only very important but are extremely sentimental as it is reflection of one’s religious heritage, we take special care when we service any religious garments or items. We are extremely aware that these items need to be cleaned by hand as the tassels can get frayed or damaged using conventional cleaning methods. We are always available to take special requests in handling and or packaging these items in acid free archival chambers/boxes.


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