LONDON — Allegra Hicks, the ready-to-wear and home furnishings firm that counted Gwyneth Paltrow, Brooke Shields and Oprah Winfrey among its clients, is the latest British name to fall victim to the credit crisis.
On Wednesday, chief executive officer Pia Marocco said the company founded by Allegra Hicks in 2003 has gone into administration, the U.K. equivalent of Chapter 11. Marocco and co-owner and designer Allegra Hicks are hunting for an investor to shore up the company, she added.
“We built a wonderful brand that went beyond clothing into home interiors and accessories. It would be a pity for us to let it go,” she told WWD. “It offers a great opportunity to an investor.”
Over the past year, London-based labels including Biba, Hardy Amies, Ghost and Marchpole, the clothing manufacturer and owner of the Jean-Charles de Castelbajac label, have all gone into administration.
Earlier this month, Ghost was rescued by U.K. retail entrepreneur Touker Suleyman, who said he plans to position it as “an aspirational luxury brand.” Hardy Amies was purchased by the private investment fund Fung Capital.
Meanwhile, Icelandic retail investment group Baugur, while not in administration, is struggling with upwards of $2 billion in debt, which is now in the hands of the beleaguered Icelandic government. Baugur has stakes in companies including Saks Fifth Avenue, Matthew Williamson and London label PPQ and also owns a string of U.K. specialty chains.
Allegra Hicks pulled out of London Fashion Week in September at the last minute after sponsors cut back on funding for the show. Marocco said the hunt for investors was going well earlier in the year, but August trading was weak, and sales softened further in September and October.
“Wholesale was not strong for winter, and sales on Madison [Avenue] collapsed — not just for us but for a lot of stores on the street,” she said. The company’s U.S. wholesale accounts include Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s and Ron Herman in Los Angeles.
Hicks opened her Madison Avenue unit in March 2007, a 750-square-foot store designed by her husband, Ashley Hicks, an interior and furniture designer. The Allegra Hicks store in London, on Pont Street, is breaking even, Marocco said. The company’s annual sales are under $10 million.
Earlier this year, the outlook was rosy at Allegra Hicks: Business was growing by 40 percent year-on-year, and the two partners were scouting space for a third store in L.A.�
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty