British designer Roland Mouret enters administration amid Covid coup

With additional reporting by Kati Chitrakorn.

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British designer Roland Mouret, known for his bodycon Galaxy dress, has filed for administration, adding to the list of British fashion collapses this year including Ralph & Russo and Amanda Wakeley.

Mouret, a Frenchman known to have cultivated a celebrity after starting with Victoria Beckham until young members of the British Royal Family today, has survived various bumps in his career. In 2005, he vowed to quit fashion after separating from his business partners and losing the rights to design using his name. But a lifeline has come with entertainment mogul Simon Fuller (who founded American Idol), who partnered with Mouret for a relaunch under the name RM. A Mayfair flagship store and workshop at 8 Carlos Place – opposite the Connaught Hotel – and the repurchase of the trademark rights to his name followed, along with his folded and structured draperies and innovations. His willingness to experiment was also present: he was among the first to join Natalie Massenet’s Net-a-Porter, despite the early skepticism of the industry.

In 2019, the brand’s sales hit £ 16million from a mix of wholesale, its Mayfair store and a direct-to-consumer website. The brand reported operating profit of £ 403,495, down from a loss of £ 3.2million a year earlier. Things were improving. But the Covid pandemic, as for many British brands, has weighed on demand. Mouret tried to sell on Amazon and in July secured funding from Grosvenor Britain and Ireland, the wealthy owner in central London, who took a minority stake in the business: a first for the owner. An athleisure line called Roland Mouret Body was launched in October.

Other UK fashion designers have quietly downsized to cut costs during the pandemic and amid rising costs of Brexit. Christopher Kane and high-end shoe maker Nicholas Kirkwood parted ways with LVMH last year amid mounting losses and have since closed their Mayfair flagships on Mount Street.

“I think that because of this story Roland Mouret is not typical of British designer brands”, says Sarah Mower, Voguechief critic. For now, the future is not clear.

The collapse of the administration was first reported by WWD. Neither Grosvenor, Roland Mouret or XIX Entertainment could be contacted for comment.

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