By  on March 16, 2010

LONDON — For a while last year, Allegra Hicks was looking like just another victim of the credit crunch, having had to pull out of London Fashion Week, shutter her ready-to-wear business, and close her stores in Manhattan and London.

But she’s come back with a bang: After finding new, private backers for her eponymous business, she’s opened a store on Elizabeth Street here, has a book in the works for September, and has signed Kim Vernon of Vernon Company to develop new projects.

Hicks said the financial drama of 2008 and 2009 was just what she needed to regroup. “Sometimes you lose track of what you’re actually good at,” she said during a walk-through of the 700-square-foot store, a tiny space compared with her former unit on Pont Street. “These sorts of times help you focus and maximize your creativity.”

The new store, which spans two floors, has cotton linen walls with the designer’s signature teardrop design picked out in beads, and dark parquet floors. The store stocks the rtw collection, which Hicks designs in collaboration with Abdul Koroma and Andrew Jones, the duo behind the London label Modernist, and her home textiles collection. The rtw line also sells on the firm’s Web site and at stores including Harvey Nichols, Calypso in Manhattan, Jake in Chicago and Sebastian’s in Dallas.

Last year, Hicks formed a new company, AH Lifestyle Ltd., with backing from a private investor. Linda Peters, a former executive at sephora.com and the co-founder and director of London’s Centre for Fashion Enterprise, which supports emerging fashion talent, is the new chief executive officer.

Separately, Hicks is working with Vernon to explore projects and collaborations with other brands in both apparel and home design.

“Allegra’s 15 years of designing fashion, prints, textiles and home objects has created a tremendous and valuable archive,” said Vernon. “She is underexposed. We plan to change that and bring her pretty, modern aesthetic to a broader range of customer. There are many brands that can benefit from that work as well as her talent as lifestyle designer.”

Vernon added the two are in talks with a variety of companies, and the first projects would likely be unveiled within six months.

Meanwhile, Hicks is also at work on “An Eye for Design,” which will be published by Abrams in September. The designer said she sees the 230-page book as a “visual diary” that traces her inspirations and explores the importance of the five senses on her creative process. Patrick Kinmonth, the British opera and stage designer who worked on Valentino’s 45th anniversary retrospective exhibition in 2007, has written the forward. Antonio Monfreda, who worked with Kinmonth on the Valentino show and on the “Anglomania” exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is the book’s creative director.

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