Byline: James Fallon

LONDON — Hussein Chalayan owes some big bills.
As reported, the designer’s company, Cartesia Ltd., filed for voluntary liquidation late last month. At a creditors’ meeting Friday that approved the appointment of liquidators Baker Tilly, it was revealed that Cartesia owes more than $1.5 million.
Jonathan Johns, a director at Baker Tilly, said in a telephone interview that it’s unlikely the creditors will receive much of their money back. Even if, as expected, Chalayan delivers his spring-summer collection, the amount received from these orders “will only be in the tens of thousands,” Johns said.
Cartesia’s assets total about $75,000. There are no significant samples to be sold since the company held sample sales in June and October, Johns said. In addition, many of Chalayan’s best-known designs are owned by the sponsors of his shows.
Cartesia owes the largest amount, about $750,000, to David Leary and William Moen, both shareholders in the company which had loaned Chalayan money to operate. Another major creditor is the singer Bjork, a long-time fan of Chalayan’s who is often photographed wearing his clothes.
The company had accumulated losses between 1995 and 1998 of $975,000, according to its accounts filed at the government office Companies House. Cartesia’s last accounts were filed in 1998, when it hit financial difficulties as a result of problems with one of its major suppliers. The problems disrupted deliveries and cost Cartesia about $300,000. However, the company no longer uses that manufacturer and its current Italian manufacturer is planning to deliver Chalayan’s spring collection as normal, Johns said.
Despite Cartesia’s debts, there is no legal block on Chalayan establishing another company to continue his business, Johns said. As reported, the designer plans to set up another organization to produce a fall collection. Chalayan intends to do a small presentation during London Fashion Week instead of his normal runway show.
Under British law, Baker Tilly must present a report to the Department of Trade and Industry on whether any action needs to be taken against Chalayan relating to the liquidation. Baker Tilly has six months to prepare the report, which remains confidential. However, Johns said that at this stage Baker Tilly is unaware of any problems that would prevent Chalayan from carrying on in future seasons.

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