Ralph & Russo, the high-end clothing designer behind Meghan Markle’s semi-sheer engagement dress, has been placed under administration, it was announced today.
The London-based brand, which specializes in creating celebrity-popular haute couture and ready-to-wear dresses, has appointed directors to study “all the options available” for the company.
Fans of the brand include Ellie Goulding, Jennifer Lopez and the Duchess of Sussex, who picked the designer for her 2017 engagement shoot to Prince Harry in the grounds of Frogmore Cottage, Windsor.
The black and gold studded dress reportedly cost £ 56,000 and made the brand, run by business partners Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo, an even better name.
Ralph and Russo, the London designer behind Meghan Markle‘s engagement dress, have announced they will be taking office
But three years later, the brand confirmed that two directors had been jointly appointed – Paul Appleton of Begbies Traynor Group plc and Andrew Andronikou of Quantuma Advisory Limited.
A company statement shared with MailOnline read: “Ralph & Russo, the UK-based luxury brand specializing in tailoring, ready-to-wear and luxury goods, has now been placed under administration.
“The decision to appoint directors was taken by the board of directors to help with the restructuring of the company after the global retail economy was hit hard by the financial downturn caused by the pandemic. of COVID-19.
“The objective is to restructure the company to ensure its sustainability.
“Paul Appleton of Begbies Traynor Group plc and Andrew Andronikou of Quantuma Advisory Limited have been appointed joint directors and will now explore all possible options to secure the future of this globally recognized brand for the benefit of all stakeholders.
“The company was founded in 2010 by Creative Director Tamara Ralph and Co-Founder Michael Russo and has carved out a unique position in the market to become one of the most exclusive luxury brands in the world.
The brand is owned by Creative Director Tamara Raph, left and Michael Russo, right, pictured together at the Fashion Awards 2019 in London
Who are Ralph and Russo?
Founded by Australians Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo in London in 2010, the brand maintains the exclusivity of its bespoke designs by selling only one version of each garment per country.
They worked with several celebrities and designed the costume Angelina Jolie wore to reclaim her honorary lady from the Queen in 2018 and the dress Gwyneth Paltrow wore to the 2015 Oscars.
Beyoncé also ordered several Ralph and Russo outfits for her Mrs Carter World Tour in 2013, the same year the brand became the first British brand since 1915 to officially join Paris Haute Couture Week.
In 2017, they created a bespoke dress valued at £ 56,000 for Meghan Markle, which she wore in her engagement photos to Prince Harry in 2019.
Last summer, the label received $ 50million – £ 40million – from La Perla Fashion Investment BV, which took an uncontrolled minority stake in the UK label.
In 2014, they became the first British designers in nearly 100 years to be accredited by the French body that decides which brands count as Haute Couture.
The company has been hit by financial difficulties in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit the business of the awards ceremony hard.
This has led them to put the majority of their London staff on leave.
Real estate investor and developer Nick Candy, who had a stake in the company, filed a lawsuit against Ralph and Russo in 2020 over a loan taken out by Michael Russo.
It was also reported late last year that the company was struggling to pay staff on time and make contributions to the pension plan, which sparked rumors it might go into administration soon. .
The company confirmed today that it is facing insolvency and is in receivership, with Paul Appleton of Begbies Traynor Group plc and Andrew Andronikou of Quantuma Advisory Limited appointed joint directors to explore all possible options. to ensure the future of the brand.
“The house is the source of some of fashion’s most iconic moments, creating for leading clients around the world, including international celebrities, royalty and influential women.
“It is the intention of all parties that the business continues to operate throughout the administration process, and the company remains fully committed to supporting its global customer base and incredibly loyal staff during the transition through this period.
Tamara Ralph, Creative Director, said:
“For the past 11 years, Ralph & Russo has been my total love and passion. With my talented team and master craftsman making the heart of the house beat, we’ve built a global luxury brand that I’m incredibly proud of.
“Over the past 12 months, we have experienced unprecedented trading conditions throughout the pandemic, which has strained our business and our retailers around the world. Despite these challenges, we continued to serve our customers during this time.
“I would like to thank our clients for their continued loyalty and friendship and our staff for their hard work under these difficult circumstances. My commitment remains to our customers and our staff throughout this period.
“I have been assured that this process will help refinance the business and allow all of us to do what we love most: creating for our women around the world. I also want to reaffirm my commitment to the brand and take it to new heights in the future. My clients, my staff and I have an indestructible bond and we will go through this together. ‘
In recent months, it has been reported that the company is struggling to pay its staff on time and make pension contributions after a series of lawsuits brought against it by investors.
Last year, real estate developer and investor Nick Candy took legal action against Ralph and Russo after Russo took out a multi-million administrator loan. Further lawsuits followed over whether the loan had been repaid.
The coronavirus pandemic, which has spawned bans on public gatherings and awards ceremonies, has also taken a heavy toll on the company’s finances.
Earlier this month, The Sunday Times reported that bailiffs were repeatedly called to the company’s headquarters in Mayfair in February after most of its 100 employees were put on leave in 2020.
It’s a brutal fall from grace for Ralph and Russo, Mayfair’s darling.
Since its inception in 2010, the company has attracted millions of pounds of investment from big names among UK companies, including Candy Ventures and John Caudwell, the founder of Phones 4U.
The brand is loved by celebrities, who often turn to Ralph and Russo for glitzy evening wear, like Jennifer Lopez, pictured in one of their designs at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards, in LA in 2017.
Prince Beatrice, 32, left, also opted for a branded skirt and jacket combo for his sister’s wedding in October 2018, pictured
In 2019, the company was valued at £ 175million after La Perla owner Tennor Holding invested £ 40million for a small stake in Ralph and Russo.
Her moment of glory came in 2017 after Meghan Markle chose a Ralph and Russo creation for her engagement photoshoot with Prince Harry.
The glittering couture gown was a handmade creation that would have taken thousands of hours to make and was valued at £ 56,000. Kensington Palace confirmed at the time the dress was “bought privately”.
Ellie Goulding chooses Ralph and Russo to attend the 2020 Green Carpet Fashion Awards
From the Fall / Winter ’16 collection, the black tulle maxi dress features a hand-applied silk organza skirt with silk tulle ruffles and a fully sheer bodice adorned with intricate gold feather threads.
At the time, Ralph & Russo stood out as a well-known luxury brand for high profile women with a passion for fashion.
Blake Lively, Angelina Jolie and Meghan’s dear friend Priyanka Chopra were among her many prominent fans, as were singers Ellie Goulding and Jennifer Lopez, who trust the brand to dress them up for glitzy events.
Prince Harry’s cousin, Princess Beatrice, 32, also opted for a brand’s navy blue skirt and blazer with a matching Jackie O-inspired hat for her sister Eugenie’s wedding to Jack Brooksbank in October 2018.