LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Luella Bartley, the young British designer whose quirky yet feminine designs have adorned model Kate Moss and singer Lily Allen, has become the latest fashion casualty of the recession.
Bartley’s label, Luella, ceased trading after its ready-to-wear producer closed last month and its main financial backer pulled the plug on any further investment, the company said in a statement emailed to Reuters on Wednesday.
Luella Bartley Ltd said its key producer in Italy, Carla Carini, unexpectedly closed last month, leaving the brand unable to fulfill its spring/summer 2010 orders.
VSQ Ltd, which also distributes for Armani, advised Luella that it had decided not to invest further in the label, the statement said.
Bartley won Designer of the Year at last year’s British Fashion Awards and her Luella-branded designs are popular with a number of celebrities.
“This is a very disappointing situation for everyone involved with the brand,” Luella Bartley said.
Bartley, a former British journalist who founded her company a decade ago, has attracted continued adulation from the fashion press and her celebrity fans.
“We have a number of options open to us and are considering these over the coming months,” Bartley said.
Known for its idiosyncratic and humorous mix of punk details and party dresses, Luella is the label of choice for the streetwise British girl-about-town and is regularly worn by London gossip-page regulars Alexa Chung, Allen and the daughters of singer/campaigner Bob Geldof.
The designer once described her look as “the kind of clothes you can get drunk and fall over in.”
Luella handbags, hair accessories and leather goods sell well: the dresses — around 500 pounds ($800) each — may not be cheap but they are popular in boutiques as well as in up-market high street stockists and her range of graphic T-shirts provides a “way in” to the brand at a lower price.
Bartley launched Luella in 1999. Her fusion of traditional British influences — Crombie coats and hunting jackets — with quirky modern details chimed with a revived “Cool Britannia” movement. She opened her flagship store on Mayfair’s Brook Street in 2007.
Reporting by Paul Casciato, Editing by Steve Addison