LONDON — Lockdown has claimed another retail victim: Diane von Furstenberg’s London business.
The designer’s Bruton Street flagship in Mayfair, which is currently shut due to the coronavirus pandemic, will not reopen, while the brand’s local subsidiary, DVF Studio U.K., has gone into administration.
Andrew Stokoe, the brand’s chief financial officer, said that as a consequence of the pandemic, “DVF is resetting its business model and that, unfortunately, has resulted in a decision to close our store in Mayfair, London. We are continuing to invest in e-commerce and the DVF.com platform and remain committed to support our loyal customers in addition to our global network of franchise partners and wholesale accounts.”
He added: “We particularly look forward to welcoming our U.K. clients to our points of sale in Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Harrods.”
Last week, Diane von Furstenberg sent a letter to her U.K. clients, saying “it’s with a lot of sadness that DVF U.K. had to close due to the very difficult present situation. DVF.com continues to be at your service, and I will stay in touch to let you know of our future adventures.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your loyalty and support. See you soon. Love is life. Diane.”
According to the latest filing on Companies House, the official register of U.K. businesses, the subsidiary posted a profit of 124,052 pounds in the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2018. In that filing, however, DVF Studio U.K. said it had “substantial doubt” about its own ability to continue as a going concern, given its dependency on the parent company, DVF Studio LLC, which registered a loss of $22.1 million that year.
The Bruton Street store, which opened in September 2007, was part of a flurry of retail openings for the DVF brand in Europe that year. The designer opened boutiques in Brussels; Moscow; Paris; Saint-Tropez, France; and Madrid, underscoring the global appeal of her fashions and of her relaunched wrap dresses.
“It really has grown organically, as things go in Europe,” von Furstenberg told WWD in an interview that summer at her Paris apartment overlooking the cupola of the Academie Française.
The Bruton Street shop spans 2,650 square feet, and was the first in London to carry the full range of DVF products, including the designer’s jewelry for H.Stern, Christian Louboutin shoes, and her accessories collection.
DVF is the latest brand to fall victim to the lockdown measures due to the health crisis. Laura Ashley, Cath Kidston, Debenhams, and Lulu Guinness are among the many companies that have filed for administration since lockdown began in March. Those companies’ assets have since been bought by new owners or existing shareholders and will continue to operate post-lockdown.
News of the Bruton Street closure and the filing for administration was first reported by The Sunday Times of London on May 24.