He’s known as the Sultan of Stains, and he is also the current boyfriend of Dorinda Medley on the hit, reality TV series, The Real Housewives of New York. Born in Queens, 34 year old John Mahdessian owns and operates the Madame Paulette, the family dry cleaning business that was started back in the late 1950’s. Mahdessian dry cleans and takes care of many of New York’s upper crust residents. Even wealthy travelers and celebrities stop in Madame Paulette’s awesome treatment that he gives the garments they care so much about. Mahdessian knows who’s who in town and knows some pretty interesting details about certain celebs and rich folks, when it comes to how they take care of their clothes and linens. Most of his stories will make you laugh, and some may even make you say, ‘Oh brother.’ If you follow RHONY, you may know a little about the Sultan of Stains, but here are 10 things you don’t know about John Mahdessian.
1. Madame Paulette was named after his aunt
Mahdessian says that his great-uncle, Andy, started the dry cleaners as a mom-and-pop business in 1958. He named the store after his wife, who was a French girl and worked as the seamstress there. It was a small business that over time began to grow until today, it is a big business that owns and takes up half of a block due to Mahdessian’s recent $500,00 renovation project.
In order to keep a business like this up and running, you have to be at your clients’ beck-and-call, which is why he carries his cell with him everywhere and always ready to take an emergency garment call. He says his schedule is to work six days a week, and leaves Sundays for himself, which he does a little pampering of his own by making Sundays his manicure, pedicure and massage day.
3. Madame Paulette isn’t just for locals
Madame Paulette doesn’t just cater to the locals’ clothing garments and linens. People from all over the world send Mahdessian their important materials, whether clothing, draperies, bedding, wedding gowns, anything imaginable, he says, for him to take care for them. They typically ship the garment or linen, or whatever, and let him do the rest. He has even had the pleasure of working on an Andy Warhol tapestry from a German castle. His business isn’t just about clothing and table clothes. He claims that if it’s made of a fabric, they can clean it: velvet walls, antique carpets, anything imaginable. And they travel. They take care of yachts, homes, planes, anything where you find fabric.
4. Cleaned Princess Diana’s gowns
Two of Mahdessian’s clients are the two famous antique dealers, Sotheby’s and Christie’s. He’s done a lot of work for both and some of his most memorable jobs with the antique dealers is having the honor of cleaning 80 of Princess Diana’s gowns. This is a trusted name in dry cleaning, when you get to handle such historic garments and they’re entrusted to you to clean them to perfection.
5. Resents the term “Dry Cleaner”
If you want to upset John Mahdessian, all you have to do is call him a dry cleaner. Mahdessian said in an interview, to call him a dry cleaner is a huge insult. He compares this type of analogy to that of calling a world-renowned surgeon, a “doctor.” You don’t dumb-down a title and lump everyone together under a title. Mahdessian goes so far beyond dry cleaning that he deserves a title all of his own. I’m not sure if he ever did say what he prefers to be called, but he made very clear what he is not.
6. He’s an overachiever
Mahdessian says he’s an overachiever and always needs a challenge. He told a story of how when he was young, one summer at summer camp, he actually left camp early because he had already won all the awards. During his school years, he left public school and enrolled in St. Mary’s, which was an all-boy, very rigorous Catholic school due to the lack of challenge public school gave him. His senior year, he was elected as the school president.
7. Has a recurring role on House Wives of New York
Mahdessian has been dating Dorinda Medley of House Wives of New York, for four years now. Before Dorinda, he used to claim to be quite a playboy and has said that he needs to change his girls every two weeks. Mahdessian met Medley during a garment emergency rescue. In 2009, Medley borrowed a $65,000 Roberto Cavalli gown to attend an event at the Buckingham Palace. She spilt red wine on the gown and was told by a friend, to take it to Madame Paulette’s. He took care of the gown and made it look great. When Medley’s husband died in 2012, Medley and Mahdessian started dating, and the rest is history.
8. Medley’s friends don’t like him
It is very apparent that the cast of HWNOY and Medley’s friends do not care for Madhessian. Her daughter, Hannah doesn’t particularly care for him either, especially because she and her step father who died, were so close and she claims that her mother’s new suitor and her step dad were so different. Medley tries to keep her relationship with Mahdessian and her relationship with her daughter, separate. As far as what she does about her friends not caring for Madhessian and his behavior – she doesn’t do anything. She says she doesn’t care what others think because four years with him should prove they’re good for each other.
9. Charges high fees for cleaning a shirt
While most other, average dry cleaners charge a couple dollars to clean and press a man’s dress shirt, Mahdessian’s fees are much higher, but those who can afford his fees don’t seem to mind. They say his services are worth it. If you take your dress shirt to Madame Paulette’s, you can expect to pay $9 per shirt, but if you want all the buttons removed and replaced to prevent breakage, you will need to pay $1 more per shirt.
10. Mahdessian thinks some of his customers’ requests are out there
Some of his regular clients who use his services and pay monthly, can spend anywhere between $600 and $1000 a month on dry cleaning services. He says he doesn’t have the right to think that their expectations and demands are ridiculous but he has had some pretty obnoxious requests, including the story of a very wealthy client requesting that his $10-$15 Gilligan hat be made to look brand new, no matter what Mahdessian had to do to get it stark white again. Mahdessian says he couldn’t help but wonder why his client wouldn’t just go buy a new one.