A concierge's guide to vintage-savvy dry cleaners in London
The concierges of world renowned London hotels, Claridges and The Berkeley, have divulged their secrets on where to find the best services for caring for your vintage garments. This article is brought to you by the concierge of one of the most prestigious 5 star luxury hotels in London, The Berkeley.
To get the most from your vintage pieces you have to dedicate a little extra time to looking after them. Often the vintage items you wear will have been around longer than you and need to be treated with the respect.
Due to the age of vintage garments the fibres can often be weaker than normal, and may not survive a vigorous wash and tumble-dry as well as your modern wardrobe. Although you may be able to hand wash some smaller items, it is best to put your vintage clothing into the care of an experienced dry cleaner when getting them washed to avoid any damage to the fabrics.
When visiting a dry cleaning service it is advisable to take your items in personally to allow for a short consultation with the staff. Explain exactly what the issue is and if there are any stains or damage.
There are a plethora of excellent dry cleaning establishments throughout the capital where you can take your precious vintage garments and receive them back in a clean condition without compromising their quality.
Our first recommendation is a central London based dry cleaners named ‘Valentino’ which has two conveniently placed branches on Shaftsbury Avenue and New Oxford Street. A well trusted and professional service is provided, ensuring they maintain their reputation which has been built over 25 years. Their client list speaks for itself being trusted by luxury brands such as Paul Smith, Moschino and Alexander McQueen.. Whilst providing an excellent service they still maintain an extremely reasonable price range starting at £2.75 for a men’s shirt.
Another commendable London dry cleaning establishment is ‘Jeeves of Belgravia’ who own 12 dry cleaning outlets throughout the capital. They are a well trusted firm with a history dating back to 1969. They are renowned for their ‘Seven Stage Process’ which ensures your vintage garments are returned to you in immaculate condition.
Every piece received is subjected to a thorough examination, after which any necessary stain removal and cleaning take place. Additionally any minor repairs such as loose buttons or hems will be dealt with as part of the process. This treatment is exactly the kind of attention that older items of clothing need. Although this process may appear a little excessive it is important to remember that when dealing with a vintage item you are essentially dealing with an antique, and the same level of care must be attributed.
There is also the option of using a dry cleaner that caters specifically to vintage items in which case ‘Upstage Vintage’ is the establishment for you. Based in north London between Kings Cross and Islington, they claim to have experience cleaning garments which date back to 1786. If you are looking to remove the ‘musty’ smell that often comes with vintage attire this is the place you should visit.
Using an ‘Ozone Treatment’ to kill off odour molecules without damaging the fabric of your items they can successfully rid you vintage wardrobe of any unwanted aromas. There experience lies in cleaning theatrical items, and so naturally they are accustomed to handling items with delicacy and respect.
They are dedicated to providing you with an honest opinion on the quality of cleaning they can achieve, and will not attempt to clean an item they feel risks damage during the process. This type of honestly is extremely valuable when dealing with vintage items, as often they are treasured one-off pieces you will not be able to buy back should they not withstand the process.