Friday, January 22, 2010

The Road to Recovery: Part One: Bird in Hand

Condition is always a consideration when buying vintage.  Sometimes pieces come to us absolutely pristine like our Marc Bohan for Christian Dior.  Othertimes, they require a little tender loving care.  It may be a rip in a seam - a rip in the fabric itself means RIP (rest in peace).  It may need a good cleaning.  Or it may mean restoration.  When the Donald Brooks came to me in delicate condition I knew I was buying a project, but definitely one I wanted to pursue.

It was photographed for a great Harper's Bazaar shoot with Sarah Jessica Parker styled as Diana Vreeland.   We ran around gathering the feathers as they flew.

Now it is time for it to be packed and shipped with its little care package of guinea hen feathers to The French Hand Laundry in Pasadena California.  The French Hand Laundry is RARE vintage's neighborhood dry cleaner.  It is just around the corner 3,000 miles away. 

That is how hard it is to find a good dry cleaners.  I was introduced to them by a client and when I was in LA for the Golden Globes last January, I went to pick up some pieces, drop off more, they gave me a tour of the laundry.  It was fascinating and as obsessed as I am by vintage, they are as obsessed with the cleaning process.  And I learn from them.  They are as knowledgeable as any museum textile conservationist so I send my pieces there without staying awake at night from nightmares of what the dry cleaner might be doing to my vintage.

Anouk Aimee in the Donald Brooks from Vincent Boucher's blog, Couturealist.

I thought that RARE vintage blog readers would enjoy seeing the Donald Brook's dress road to recovery.  Pam and Susan at the French Hand Laundry have kindly agreed to share the restoration process.  So we will periodically check in by photo to see the dress returned to its original state.  Stay tuned!

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