Ralph & Russo in administration but "continues to operate"
Ralph & Russo looks to be the latest business casualty of the global health crisis that has hurt so many fashion businesses in the past year. The RTW and couture label, launched by Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo 11 years ago, announced on Wednesday that it’s in administration.
It shared the news “with great sadness” via Instagram and said the “difficult decision has been made to help ensure the company’s ongoing success and to restructure the business after the retail economy across the world has been badly hit by the Covid 19 pandemic”.
The designers also said it’s their intention “that the business will continue to operate throughout this time, and we remain fully committed to supporting our incredibly loyal global clientele and our wonderful staff, without which none of this would have been possible”.
Given that statement, there has been speculation that it could be bought by insiders in a pre-pack administration deal. But it's also believed that there could be plenty of interest from other parties in buying the brand.
There had been persistent rumours about the health of the company this year, but as recently as last week a spokesperson had told Sky News that it would fight any attempt by creditors to force it into insolvency.
The company had seemed to be riding high not so many years ago and received a huge publicity boost when it made the dress worn by Meghan Markle to announce her engagement to Prince Harry.
Founded in 2010, investors in the company had included a number of Britain's megarich entrepreneurs such as property developer Nick Candy and billionaire John Caudwell. Lars Windhorst’s Tenor Holding, which also controls La Perla, paid around £40 million for a minority stake in 2019, at which time the company was valued at around £175 million.
But the Covid crisis dealt the label a blow that was insurmountable. The cancellation of red carpet events, galas and super-rich weddings saw demand for £50,000 gowns falling through the floor. The label had cancelled its couture show in January but said it would be back.
The company has around 100 staff, who’ve mainly been furloughed for the past year. Yet there had been reports that staff payments that were due had been delayed and talk of bailiffs turning up at its Mayfair headquarters.
However, Sky News on Wednesday also said a source close to the company had claimed business was beginning to pick up again.
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