Cleaners Vary on Oscar Gowns, NCA Says

Ian P. Murphy |

NEW YORK — Most members of the National Cleaners Association (NCA) say they would charge less to clean the Oscar-night gowns featured in a People magazine report than the Beverly Hills operator interviewed for the story.
The article, “What Would The Dry-Cleaning Bill Be?” appeared March 10 to spotlight the elaborate gowns worn to the Academy Awards. Interviewing veteran drycleaner Bernie Barton of J.B. French Cleaners in Beverly Hills, Calif., the story estimated the potential costs of cleaning the couture clothing.
Best Actress winner Marion Cotillard’s ruffled Gaulthier Paris gown won the costliest cleaning estimate, with a train “that would take three people to steam.” Barton estimated Penelope Cruz’ feathered Chanel Haute Couture gown at $550, though he told the magazine he would likely reject it.
Barton told People he would charge $500 to process Keri Russell’s silk-taffeta Nina Ricci (part of which would be insurance against a claim), while Katherine Heigl’s chiffon Escada would be more resilient to processing and cost just $375.
Asked how their charges would compare if they were asked to clean the same garments, only 8.7% of respondents to an NCA survey said “The same,” and only 12.1% more said “More than 10% more.” Nearly three out of four (73.4%) answered “More than 10% less.” Typical prices ranged from $225 to $300 for more than half of respondents, NCA says.
Asked whether the pricing information People ran was good for consumers to see, 74.9% said “Yes.” Only 7.2% said it’s bad for customers to see stories like this, and 15.9% said “It doesn’t matter either way.” Several members noted that a review of plant prices was long overdue after taking the survey, NCA says.

About the author

Ian P. Murphy

Freelance Writer

Ian P. Murphy is a freelance writer based in Chicago, and was the editor of American Drycleaner from 1999 to 2011.


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