When the leading fashion designers, starlets, and world leaders have a couture emergency, they all head to the same place: Madame Paulette, a high-end cleaning and tailoring empire on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. President John Mahdessian has the final say on caring for the world’s most treasured pieces, from Elvis Presley’s white jumpsuit to Princess Diana’s gowns to the furniture that once belonged to King Louis XVI. And with the help of his Fashion Ambulance, a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter upfitted into a top-of-the-line mobile repair center, he’s able to take Madame Paulette’s services to the most exclusive runway shows and parties New York City has to offer.
You have a reputation for being the very best at what you do. What puts Madame Paulette a notch above other tailoring companies?
When you have a gown that gets damaged with red wine, or a dress where the colors start bleeding, where most people would say, “This is lost to fashion history,” we’re actually able to restore it to the original condition. It’s like being the one surgeon in the world who can do an operation that most people couldn’t fathom doing.
Your Fashion Ambulance has developed an incredible reputation. Why was it important to add the mobile element?
During Fashion Week, we’re inundated with designers that have last-minute emergencies. We set up our Mercedes-Benz Sprinter outside of fashion shows so that the designers or the VIPs can walk in and receive our services right there. We outfit them with a beautiful terrycloth robe and slippers, and then they literally stroll out as if nothing ever happened.
Why did you choose the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter over similar vehicles?
We’ve always been avid fans of the Sprinter; our entire fleet consists of seven Sprinters. They’re reliable. They drive well. They look good. We cater to the ultra-luxury market, and of course everything that we deal with is nothing but the best.
How have you customized the Fashion Ambulance to meet the needs of your clients?
In the back, we have a full dressing room with a mirror and curtains. We also have a pressing station so that we can press anything to perfection, a spotting station, and a tailoring station. While all of this is happening, we have two very comfortable lounge chairs where we offer our clients chilled rosé. Everyone loves it. We have a live computer that our guests can also access.
Has the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter helped you to grow your business?
We’ve been featured in so many articles that came about from us being on location. People at parties and fashion shows want us there; this summer, it was nonstop!
Any advice to other companies about adding a mobile element?
It’s the wave of the future. Sometimes, the business will come to you, but when you make your business go directly to your customers, you’re making sure that you’re connecting with potential clients by having your services right there in front of them.