Thursday, July 18, 2013

Wedding gowns

Image by Reem Acra via Majestic Gardens.
Despite being highly treasured keepsakes, wedding gowns are often poorly treated and stored. Like furs, the delicate fabric and craftsmanship on these gowns are vulnerable not only to natural hazards such as light and pests, but also to improper cleaning, handling and preservation. Professional cleaning, repairs and storage in museum-quality, acid-free archival boxes are vital to a gown’s longevity for preservation as an heirloom. These are included among Madame Paulette’s professional cleaning and preservation services, along with gloves for handling and free US shipping.

High-quality boxes and packaging materials account for only 50 percent of preservation success, says Madame Paulette’s Bridal, Couture and Vintage Manager, Karen Jean-Aimée. Once a gown returns from Madame Paulette, appropriate storage is equally necessary to maintain quality. Aside from light, mildew and dust, fluctuating temperatures and humidity may also prove dangerous to delicate gowns. As such, boxes should be kept flat in a climate- and humidity-controlled area of the house (e.g., a bedroom rather than basements, attics and exterior rooms).

Unlike some gown preservation services, which require customers to keep the box tightly sealed to prevent damage, Madame Paulette ensures that customers are able to periodically open and inspect the gown. The fabrics should, in fact, be allowed to breathe at least once per year after initial storage. After inspection, refold the dress in different places and wrap with fresh, white, acid-free tissue paper. The dress should be sent to Madame Paulette every 15 years to replace the archival box.

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