Monthly Archives: February 2010

Saved by Meurice: Vegetable oil stains on Hermes Suede clutch purse cleaning

Suede is a tricky material for even experienced cleaners to work with — and on top of that, vegetable oil is a notoriously difficult stain to remove.

No problem!

Have a look at these great before and after photos… even I thought I was looking at a new clutch for a moment.

Stained Hermes clutch before cleaning

Stained Hermes clutch before cleaning

Hermes portfolio clutch after cleaning

Hermes portfolio clutch after cleaning

Cleaning and altering wedding gowns at Filene’s Running of the Brides

Running with the Brides

Last Friday, we at Meurice were privileged to work at Filene’s Basement in Union Square during a little event called Running of the Brides.

It was great to get away from the occasionally testosterone-heavy atmosphere in our production office – but these brides were no shrinking violets. Close to a thousand women (and a handful of men) slammed through the doors when Filene’s opened at 8AM, picking the racks clean in about 90 seconds.

Here’s a brief Youtube video of the gates opening and brides descending on the racks:

Hundreds of brides quickly staked claim to as many dresses as they could. One team that set up shop next to Meurice’s alterations table claimed that they had over 200 gowns.  Why, might you ask, did the brides take so many gowns? Unlike leisurely bridal salons, competition for Filene’s gowns was fierce. Teams in brightly-colored uniforms indiscriminately stockpiled gowns, then sent ambassadors to trade with other teams. Each bride knew which particular dress they were after, say, a size 2 cream-colored mermaid gown. Particularly industrious teams plied aisles with photos cut out from magazines and pasted on signs.

Here’s a few shots of the carnage:

Wayne bracing the shelves in the calm before the storm

Wayne bracing the shelves in the calm before the storm

First wave of brides

First wave of brides

Wayne teetering above the fray

Wayne teetering above the fray

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Of course, Meurice wasn’t there just to watch. Our booth was positioned toward the makeshift changing room – the perfect placement to advise brides unsure of how much work their dream gown needed.

A lot of brides wanted to know if it was worth cleaning a particular gown – and if it was, how many of the blemishes would come out. On the whole, ROTB gowns were fairly clean, given that most were samples or floor models. We saw a good deal of ‘pickup’ dirt, often along hemlines that were bound to be shortened anyway. Fortunately, nearly all the imperfections on ROTB gowns were well within the realm of cleanability.

Another common question from Filene’s brides: Why are alterations so expensive? If I’m buying a $249 gown, why would I pay $400 to have it tailored? The short answer is alterations are a labor-intensive process that requires skilled technicians. Our three tailors at Meurice have over 90 years combined experience… so their efforts do not come for free.   Of course, the upside is that they are all extremely talented. Tailoring gowns while preserving the designers’ lines is a true art form, and we’ve seen our share of gowns mangled by lesser seamstresses.

Roma works her wedding gown alteration magic

Roma works her wedding gown alteration magic

Our consultations are always complimentary, and we have no minimum charge for our services. We’ve completed elaborate alterations for more than $2,500, and we’ve also made minor repairs for less than $25. Alteration costs really vary widely from gown to gown.

As Meurice’s owner, Wayne, is fond of saying, a bride’s perfect gown can always be tailored to fit her perfectly. On the other hand, if a bride finds a gown that fits her perfectly, but isn’t exactly up to her standards, there’s not much we can do.

Was the chaos at ROTB worth it? For the hundreds of happy customers we saw, the answer was a resounding ‘yes!

The deals were so great, as a matter of fact, we saw ‘brides’ that weren’t even engaged yet! One of the best moments of the event came as the crowds has dwindled toward the end of the day. We helped a young woman into a stunning gown that just happened to fit her like a glove. As the remaining spectators (yes, spectators) clapped and shouted their congratulations, the woman admitted she wasn’t getting married, or even dating.

“I just work here,” she said, grinning mischievously.

The whole Meurice team in front of our booth

The whole Meurice team in front of our booth

For more photos of Running of the Brides, see our photostream on Flickr.

Running of the Brides at Filene’s Basement – 2010

Running of the Brides at Filene’s Basement in Union Square is this Friday, February 5th — and we know it’s going to be NUTS! The key to getting the right gown: preparation. Here’s the top ten tips we’ve compiled to successfully run with Filene’s brides:

Photo credit: NY Daily News

From NY Daily News

10). Buy a size bigger

You may think you’re a size four, and we know you’ll starve yourself right up until the wedding… but if you can’t get just the right size, you’re best buying up. All our tailors agree – it’s easier to take a gown out than to add more in!

9). Think about the season you’re planning your wedding for

If you’re planning a tropical wedding, it goes without saying that less gown is more comfortable. On the other hand, brides planning to get married in the fall or winter may appreciate a little extra coverage. You’ll be in the dress all day – make sure you’re comfortable.

8). Consider your comfort when choosing a gown

You’ll wear your gown all day… through the ceremony and dancing as well. Make sure it’s comfortable! We’ll never forget the bride who comes in to preserve a gown two week after the wedding with marks still in her shoulders from her 50lb gown!

7). Planning a destination wedding?

Transporting a gown onboard an airline is major hassle than often ends in wrinkles. Fortunately, we have the solution – specialized travel kits that can comfortably fit in an overhead luggage compartment (and of course we’ll pack it to ensure proper pressing).

6). Don’t be afraid to try on a gown that’s not exactly what you had in mind.

At the Running of the Brides pricing, it very well may be worth your while to have us tweak a dress that’s close to, but not exactly, the gown of your dreams. And with the frenzy of brides out there… those who dawdle may end up empty-handed.

5). If you’re the indecisive type, and can’t decide between more than one dress…

Don’t worry about taking two home. Many brides don’t settle on just one gown during the bridal event, and later consign a second gown, or sell it on eBay (often at a profit!)

4). You like the bodice on one dress… and the skirt from another…

Buy them both! Not only can our seamstresses alter single gowns, but our unique reconstructive surgery can easily merge two gowns.

3). Know your dirt.

Some of the gowns at Running of the Brides have blemishes which may or may not clean completely. On almost all kinds of fabric we can remove surface, or ‘pickup’ dirt. Fabric abrasions, on the other hand, are more difficult to clear up, especially in silk.

2). If a gown has one particular imperfection

Don’t fret! Even if we can’t repair worn fabric, we may be able to help. Some old tailoring tricks include cover-up through ornamentation such as beading or lace, or shifting a fabric panel to move the blemish behind the seam.

1). If you’re mostly happy with a gown, but find it a bit dull

Let us add a little pizzazz! We work closely with M&J Trimming, who will be on hand to supply beads, lace and embellishment. It’s easy to add tasteful accents while preserving the lines envisioned by your gown’s designer.