Friday, December 16, 2011

Q&A with Lynda, Rick, and Jordan: is club soda a miracle worker?

Happy Friday, Readers!

Welcome to the another session of reader questions, answered with care and expertise by Lynda, Rick, and Jordan. Today, our reader wants to know if an age-old tip really works:

Question: "I am going to a lot of formal parties and events this season, so I am breaking out some of my favorite dresses. I love the holidays, but it seems as though whenever I wear a great piece to a party I spill on it. What's the best way to handle this? I have heard of dabbing club soda on the stain, but is there another solution I should be using?"--Karyn {Chicago, IL}


Well-meaning friends generally reach for the club soda bottle and a napkin on the way to the aid of wine- or makeup-stained dresses, but our overwhelming response is absolutely do not use club soda.  In fact, the safest answer to your question is do not put anything at all on the stain.

Why?  Well, essentially there are two types of stains, those that can be broken down with water (known professionally as water soluble stains) and those that can only be broken down with chemical solutions (known professionally as solvent soluble stains). Lipstick and most make-up stains can only be removed by chemical solutions, so the only result of applying club soda to that type of stain is creating two stains: the original make-up stain and a second problem--the dreaded club soda stain ring.
I guess you are now thinking that since a wine stain would be classified as water soluble, you can successfully utilize the club soda to remove wine.  Our answer is NO once again.  Even though wine stains can be broken down by water, applying club soda on a wine stain would most likely only serve to spread the original wine stain and once again leave the dreaded club soda ring.  
Applying the club soda can also cause another problem. Typically, the group of good Samaritans surrounding the dress wait with baited breath as the “fabricare doctor” guest begins rubbing the fabric in the affected area with a damp cloth, while continuing to pour the club soda on the stain.  Unfortunately the doctor unintentionally has more than likely permanently damaged the finish of the fabric and possibly caused color loss.  
What to do?  Usually by the time stains occur at the party, you're halfway into the night.  Blot (do not rub) your stains with a white cotton napkin, and enjoy every remaining moment of the evening. As soon as you can, take the dress to a trusted professional. 

Wishing you and your loved ones good health and happiness always…

Special thanks to Lynda, Rick, and Jordan for stopping by and helping out! And don't forget to email, tweet, or Facebook us any questions you may have. We'll pick the best to feature right here. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Welcome to Our New Readers!

We’re so excited to officially announce the launch of our blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts. Many of you have been following along with us for weeks, but for those of you who are new, let’s take a little tour of what Behind the Seams—and the overall Davis Imperial social media collection!—has to offer.

As a family-owned company, Davis Imperial has always believed in offering unmatched quality fabricare with the type of client service that treats every person as a part of an extended family. Launching a social media component is the perfect progression of these relationships, allowing clients another way to connect with the Davis Imperial team on a fresh and interactive level.

In this space, we offer an exclusive peek at the events, philanthropy, style, education, and overall specialty operations that go into running one of the top 10 couture fabricare businesses in the nation--a company that is ingrained in the Chicago world of fashion and culture and recognized as by a myriad of media as the “best couture drycleaner".

As you can see on Behind the Seams, we post once or twice a week, highlighting the latest trends in fashion, offering education on the most commonly asked questions, and covering events and philanthropy from an insider’s perspective.  Going forward we plan to showcase some of our favorite designers, boutiques and specialty stores.

If you’re looking for something, you can either enter it into the “search” window, or you can look through our posts by category (located on the right-hand side). And if you have a question we haven’t answered, we invite you to submit it to and we just may feature it in our Q&A column, where Lynda, Rick and Jordan personally deliver their unmatched expertise. You can also subscribe to our blog and receive email notifications each time we post, or follow us by clicking on “join this site.”

You’ll also see that we have links to our homes around the web. Visit our standard website for a full list of services, all things gowns (vintage, eveningwear, gown cleaning preservation and restoration), disaster restoration, pick up and delivery information, education, testimonials, media gallery (video and before and after pics), credentials, recognition, drycleaning resources, fabricarebymail™ press and a wealth of information about the Davis Imperial experience. Click on over to Facebook or Twitter to like or follow us, and you’ll get exclusive updates regarding offers, events, and the world of fashion. And don’t miss our You Tube channel where we house videos featuring before and after stories, celebrities, events, and more.

We’re thrilled to introduce this new way of interacting with all of you, and we cannot wait to get to know you even better in our pursuit of delivering the absolute best fabricare services out there. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions, offer suggestions, comments or share your story with us. You just might see it featured here!

Thanks for reading and we’ll see you back here soon.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Service Club Chicago Celebrates 121st Anniversary

While the Service Club of Chicago--a charitable organization for women started in 1890 with the goal of helping the less fortunate of the city--is known for throwing some of the best events in the city, they truly outdid themselves with this year’s annual gala titled “An Evening of Glamour at Club El Morocco”.

Nodding back to the famous Manhattan Club (frequented in the 1930’s through the 1950’s by celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Jimmy Stewart and famous for its zebra-themed interior), the event made guests feel as though they were transported back in time. From the complete transformation of the Four Seasons ballroom (courtesy of designer Tom Kehoe) to the absolute classic elegance of the over 430 guests, the evening will last forever in the memory of those present.

Co-chairs Toni Canada, Dusty Stemer and Laurie Davis helped pull the evening go off without a hitch, complete with a delicious meal. An over-the-top silent auction, a prize-packed live auction conducted by celebrity auctioneer Jim Karas, a heartfelt thank you speech from Service Club president Sherrill Bodine, Masters of Ceremony, Val Warner and Ryan Chiaverini of Windy City Live, and beautiful music from the Ken Arlen Orchestra with a special performance by Shelley MacArthur Farley all contributed to an amazing evening for all.

Best of all, like always, the event benefited those in need, raising almost $250,000. The Woods of Davis Imperial Cleaners are proud to be a part of such a generous long-standing all-volunteer organization providing grants to local educational, social service, civic, health and cultural organizations.  We’d love to share some pictures of the event with you below.

To learn more about the Service Club, click here or see our last Service Club event recap here. Photos courtesy of, Steve Starr Photography, Caitlin Saville Collins Photography and Cindy Barrymore Photography.

Co-chairs Toni Canada, Dusty Stemer and Laurie Davis 


Lynda and Rick Wood of Davis Imperial Cleaners provided gift cards and fabricare tip books for all! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

An Exhibit Not to Be Missed--Charles James: Deconstructed

When a dress is exquisitely made, it can appear as an extension of the woman herself. Charles James, one of the great geniuses of fashion, constructed his pieces with such intricate detail and unique form that some referred to him as an architect as well as a designer. And just like talented architects in history, James’ work stands the test of time, inspiring countless others who came after him.

It is the best of these works—capes, hats and dresses, some structured so much like sculptures they could almost stand on their own—that are drawing flocks of style-obsessed to the Chicago History Museum for the exhibit running through April 16, 2012. October 21st, attendees of the Costume Council Costume Ball--including Lynda, Rick, Jordan and his wife Cyndi--were lucky enough to receive a sneak preview--and want to share it with you!

Charles James, born in London in 1906, was shipped off to Chicago by his parents at 18 due to his repeated misbehavior in school. It was there that he opened three hat shops and gained a fierce following of fashionable women from Chicago to London, eventually evolving his craft into dress design and splitting his time between Paris, New York, and London. While the 40's and 50's were the peak of his career, including a showing of his collection on the Paris runways (the first of an American after World War II and one that was so well-received that Christian Dior later referenced him as inspiration), James' battled many inner demons that prevented him from realizing the full accolades and success he deserved in his lifetime. The Chicago History Museum exhibit honors the true impact he's had on the industry, as 40 years after his death his work continues to overtly and subtly influence designers far and wide.

The curator of costumes at the museum--Timothy Long--and his impeccable attention to detail helped display James' works in fresh light. Long and his team created an exhibit that is not to be missed. In addition, the chairs of the Costume Ball Catherine Eberle, Lawrie Weed and Robin Loewenberg Berger, along with Helen Harvey Mills (an Honorary Chair) whose mother was a muse of Charles James, organized the first black-tie themed ball in 10 years, elevating the whole experience to a truly elegant

Tim Long with Rick Wood
What a party.....the gala is back after a 10 year hiatius

Costume Council President Nena Ivon was also joined by master of ceremonies Bill Zwecker, ABC 7's Kathy Brock, fashion designer Wes Gordon and Award for Design Excellence award recipient Ralph Rucci, along with 400 other revelers for the stylish soiree.
Bill Zwecker and Costume Council President Nena Ivon
While the Woods’ love anything to do with truly talented designers and fashion, Lynda, Rick, Jordan and his wife Cyndi have a special tie to the James' showing--they are co-sponsors of one of the pieces. Designed in 1957 and worn by Peg Zwecker, James designed the piece around a form and hung the fabric around it--a combination of polyester plush, polyester organza, and silk satin.

This show is important to the Wood family not just as lovers of couture fashion, but also as owners of Davis Imperial Cleaners, leaders in the restoration and preservation of haute couture and vintage garments. For the Woods’, Charles James: Genius Deconstructed further illustrates the importance of a thorough understanding of the construction and fabrication of a garment to process it to the standard of excellence and respect it deserves.

Along with the preview of the exhibit, the Costume Council also honored one of today's most acclaimed international couturiers, Ralph Rucci of Chado Ralph Rucci, with their prestigious award for Design Excellence. Like James, his collection was also shown in Paris. By recognizing work like Rucci's, the Costume Council and the Chicago History Museum honor the memory and legacy of James and designers everywhere whose talent far outlasts their careers.

Jordan and his wife Cyndi, Rick, and Lynda Wood in front of the cape

We could show you a complete pictorial recap of the exhibit but to see it in person is the only way to view Charles James: Genius Deconstructed and truly appreciate this amazing designer--it's a true treasure to the fashion world and Chicago alike. For more information, click here. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

CS Brides' Afternoon of Bridal Luxury Event Recap

It is hard to imagine a better afternoon as a bride-to-be (or a lucky family member or friend!) than CS Brides’ Afternoon of Luxury, which took place on October 16th from 12:00 to 4:00 pm along the prestigious line of shops on Oak Street in downtown Chicago.

Starting in the private dining rooms of Spiaggia, attendees explored boutiques like Ultimate Bride, Belle Vie, Vera Wang, Palazzo and Dimitras to find the perfect dress for them and their maids, then tasted cakes and appetizers, tried on elegant jewelry, received over 60 luxury samples, and met the best of the best in wedding vendors.

The Davis Imperial team was proud to represent their wide array of wedding services, including alterations, cleaning, restoration, hand pressing and delivery, on-site mobile pressing, and museum quality preservation, along with the special details that make a bride’s day one she’ll never forget.

The entire event wrapped with a champagne toast, and a portion of the proceeds benefited the American Heart Association. We had a wonderful time, as always, and would love to share our favorite pictures with you!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Davis Imperial Download: The Tuxedo

Brad and George show off classic peak and notched collared double-breasted styles

As Brad and George so adequately display, there’s nothing like a man in a tuxedo. And whether you’re in your first wedding or attending your twentieth formal event, there’s a couple of crucial details to keep in mind. So today, the team at Davis Imperial is giving you this handy cheat sheet to print out and bring with when renting or purchasing.

The first step to determining the right tux is to get professionally measured, ideally more than once if you’re purchasing (just to be certain of the sizing), but definitely each time if you rent.

Any designer’s tux collection will likely include a double-breasted jacket option (meaning the buttons appear in two rows on top of each other), but the classic version of the tux is single-breasted with one line of buttons—ranging from one to four buttons.

The collar of the jacket is known as the lapel, and typically comes in three fashions:

1. Peak: points up just above the collar bone
2. Notched: one indentation where the lapel joins the collar
3. Shawl: the collar creates a smooth, curved line

Shirts are also broken down by collar:
1. Wing: a formal stand-up style with downward points
2. Crosswick: crossed in front and held together with a button
3. Mandarin: rounded and often worn without a tie

And for the guy who feels restricted by too much formality, add some personality through custom cuff links (also a great option for groomsmen gifts!), ties, vests, and cummerbunds.

Tom Ford in a shawl-collared tux from his eponymous line
“These days, younger men are returning to the elegant style of the tuxedo. This is a distinct departure from what used to be worn at many work and social functions,” says John Jones, co-owner of Chicago men’s boutique, George Greene. “In addition to the peaked lapel, there is a nod back to the elegance of the 30’s and 40’s. The double- breasted jacket with a peaked lapel has gained popularity. Grosgrain lapels are also growing in popularity, although the majority are still silk satin.”

The purchase of a designer or couture tuxedo requires a substantial investment. No matter what style you choose, after showing it off and having a great time wearing it, it's absolutely crucial to care for it correctly.

Only an experienced fabricare specialist like Davis Imperial Cleaners--not an ordinary dry cleaner!--should be given the responsibility to clean and press your tuxedo. By engaging this level of professional care, you can bank on the greatest chance of removing any stains, and know with certainty that your tuxedo will be properly detailed by an operator who is skilled with a hand-iron.

Selecting a specialty cleaner will help you avoid the possibility of getting your tux back with shiny labels that show multiple seam or pocket impressions, and will also prevent double creases and missing or cracked buttons. You need to make absolutely certain that your tux is cleaned and pressed by a team of experienced professionals. This is not the place to skimp. Remember you get what you pay for--choice in quality does not end after the tux is purchased.

Thanks for reading! Do you have any questions or tips about tuxedos that we didn’t cover? Leave us a comment here, on our Facebook or Twitter pages, or email us at

Image of Brad and George from Buzz Blog, Tux Lapel sketch via Grooms Groove, Tom Ford Image via People Watch