Advisory firm Hilco Streambank LLC will help market the sale of Ralph & Russo Ltd., the British fashion house to the rich and famous that was this week forced into administration by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The restructuring specialist will draw up a list of prospective buyers for the couture brand, which is known for designing the £56,000 ($78,000) dress worn by Meghan Markle in her official engagement photo with Prince Harry in 2017.
Paul Appleton from Begbies Traynor Group Plc, joint administrator for Ralph & Russo, confirmed he had instructed Hilco Streambank to “assist me in the sales process.” A representative for Hilco Streambank declined to comment.
Ralph & Russo was founded by designer Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo in 2010 and quickly built up a client list of billionaires and celebrities, including actress Angelina Jolie and singer Beyonce. It went on to become the first British brand in almost a century to be accepted as a member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, the French regulatory body that decides what is and isn’t haute couture.
During its rise, the company attracted investment from entrepreneurs such as Nick Candy. The British investor’s Candy Ventures Sarl holding company is its main secured creditor and is owed about £17 million, according to documents filed with the UK’s Companies House.
Ralph & Russo ran into trouble after sales of its signature cocktail dresses slumped amid last year’s coronavirus lockdowns. In a statement this week, Ralph said “unprecedented trading conditions throughout the pandemic” had put “tremendous strain” on the business.
Appleton said he’s been fielding calls from interested parties from across the world. Mergers and acquisitions in the apparel industry have already more than doubled this year to $2.3 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“The creative genius of Tamara Ralph gives this business the potential to be the next Chanel,” Appleton said in an interview.
Prospective buyers could include rival fashion houses, sovereign wealth funds, private equity firms and ultra-rich individuals, according to a spokesperson for Candy Ventures, who said Ralph & Russo would “come back stronger than ever.”
Hilco Streambank is a US advisory firm that focuses on intellectual property asset valuation and monetisation, according to its website. Andrew Andronikou of Quantuma Advisory Ltd. is joint administrator for Ralph & Russo alongside Appleton.
By Deirdre Hipwell.