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Fake Blood on Your Opera Costume? Take it to Jeeves

By Amy Zimmer | March 14, 2011 7:45pm | Updated on March 15, 2011 8:04am

By Amy Zimmer

DNAinfo News Editor

UPPER EAST SIDE — The jackets and vests that male soloists will wear while performing in the Metropolitan Opera's "Lucia di Lammermoor" were delivered Mondau to Jeeves New York, a luxury dry cleaner near Madison Avenue.

Gerald von Pozniak, Jeeves' managing director, promised to have the garments painstakingly hand-cleaned by Wednesday, giving the Met enough time for any last-minute fittings before its Saturday afternoon performance of Gaetano Donizetti's opera that will be streamed live in HD to theaters across the country.

"They want the costumes to be as pristine as possible because everything shows up on HD," said von Pozniak, whose shop has been cleaning the Met's costumes for four seasons.

Getting that prestigious gig took "persistence," von Pozniak admitted.

He spent eight months reaching out to the world-famous opera house after he heard their long-time cleaner was closing. Now he solves such weekend emergencies as too much stage blood spattered on a costume that needs to be cleaned by the next night.

"We never say no to a client," von Pozniak said.

Jeeves — which came to the Upper East Side 30 years ago from London and was recently voted "Best Dry Cleaner for Difficult Jobs" by New York magazine — set up a mobile hand cleaning station at last fall's Victoria's Secret fashion show at the Lexington Avenue armory, getting out body makeup and blood stains from pin pricks between shows.

The shop has cleaned champagne off of silk walls inside Fifth Avenue townhouses. It solved Agent Provocateaur's emergency when paint splattered on a salesperson's pink uniform the day before last month's official opening of the sexy lingerie store on Madison Avenue.

Its seamstresses will remove buttons and other trim from delicate garments before they're cleaned, like the pearl buttons von Pozniak showed in clearly labeled bag from a Lanvin blouse.

Jeeves' workers do the button removing and sewing at the East 65th Street shop but the cleaning in Cedarhust, Long Island.

They will spend three to four hours hand-cleaning men's suits using various cleaning agents and a combination of steam for stains and ozone chambers for odors. At $145, it's not cheap, but someone paying $5,000 for a Cesare Attolini suit might prefer that to a $60 machine job, von Pozniak said.

As his father, who ran a Gramercy Park dry cleaning shop, used to tell him: "When you buy a Ferrari, you don't take it to the Ford dealership to get it fixed."