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Top Hat of Couture

from the NY Observer

The Sultan of Stains

By Spencer Morgan

John Mahdessian prefers not to be called a dry cleaner.

“That’s a fuckin’ insult,” he said, between pulls off a Marlboro Light on a recently Sunday morning. “That’s like calling a world-renowned surgeon a doctor.”

We were outside the nail salon next door to the Madame Paulette flagship, first opened by Mr. Mahdessian’s great-uncle Andy as a mom-and-pop dry cleaner in 1958, when it was named for Andy’s wife, a French gal who worked as the seamstress. It recently underwent a massive $500,000 renovation and now occupies half the block.

Mr. Mahdessian, 43, is president of what is now called the Madame Paulette Organization, “the world’s leading custom couture cleaner.” The jovial, self-described “eligible bachelor with a spotless reputation” has been married to his business since taking the reins from his father, Noubar, 20 years ago. (“He thinks girls are like shirts: You have to change them every two weeks,” Noubar said wryly.)

John works six days a week. Sundays he treats himself to a mani-pedi and a massage.

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Posted on June 10, 2009 by Editor

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