Phone: 1-800-WED-GOWN
Fax: 703-560-GOWN

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7 Questions You Must Ask


The difference in what is meant by the terms "Preservation" and "Restoration" are frequently misunderstood by consumers. The professionals at Imperial are experts in both.

Any gown of any vintage that has been worn and enjoyed at a wedding, communion or any celebration will require safe and proper Cleaning and Preservation. If done properly, as we have done every day since 1947, your gown will remain lovely and usable again, in the future. (See "Preservation")

However, many brides (and mothers of newborns) wish to use a family heirloom or vintage bridal or christening gown for their very special upcoming event. Many families find that Mom or Grandmom may have failed to properly care for or store that family treasure. If such a gown has turned yellow or gray or is in any other way diminished or damaged, the professionals at Imperial can Restore the gown, frequently to its original color and beauty, so that it can be used for the upcoming special day.

Fabric and garment Restoration is a very special technique that is not usually available at your neighborhood drycleaner. The technique for restoring any particular fabric or garment varies from gown to gown, based upon all sorts of specific issues that are different from gown to gown. The age, the amount of yellowing, age-enhanced stains, weakened fabric, damaged or discolored trims, etc., all have to be evaluated and considered in order to determine the appropriate method for restoring any specific garment or gown.

Drycleaning cannot and will not accomplish this. Restoration is a process that utilizes a wetcleaning process. It is important to understand that wetcleaning is not the same as washing. Both use water, but washing is a process that can include such techniques as mechanical agitation, extraction or wringing, alkaline detergents, extreme water temperature, etc. Wetcleaning is a very gentle and skillful technique of cleansing a gown in a bath specially formulated for a specific gown, based upon the particular fabrics, trims and stains of that individual garment. Stains are removed by a time intensive series of steps, all by hand, one at a time, never in any machine. Color is restored by the gentle and slow removal of years and layers of dust and aging.

Weakened fabrics or missing trims can be replaced, if requested. And Imperial's years of experience have allowed them to develop resources around the world that can match practically any fabric, lace or trim from any vintage or period.

Imperial is a member of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic Works (AIC) and uses techniques identical to those used by the most prestigious museums and conservators.