Premium womenswear distributor De Keyser Fashions has been rescued from administration by its founder Robert de Keyser in conjunction with Robert Bensoussan, who is best known for building Jimmy Choo into a luxury empire.
De Keyser and Bensoussan have created a new company, called R and H de Keyser, which will be chaired by former Moss Bros managing director Rowland Gee. De Keyser and his wife Hollie will be the majority shareholders.
The company has rescued eight of its 13 retail stores and selected department store concessions as well as its wholesale business. Deliveries to stockists should not be affected by the administration. About 100 of 180 jobs have been saved. Former Harvey Nichols commercial director Patrick Hanly has also joined the board as a non-executive director.
De Keyser Fashions, which distributed brands such as Jovani, Iceberg and Queen of Evil in the UK, ran into difficulty when premium denim brand Rock & Republic pulled its contract with the company three months ago. The termination of the agreement is believed to have instantly shrunk De Keyser’s sales by as much as 60%.
De Keyser said: “The placing of De Keyser Fashions in to administration is a matter of huge regret to me personally and to all our stakeholders and creditors.”
He added that the administration had been “inevitable”, against the background of adverse trading conditions, a collapse of the sterling/dollar exchange rate earlier this year, and the termination of its business with Rock & Republic.
De Keyser said he would be picking up new US brands to bolster business. “I’ve just got back from America where I was explaining the changes to all our brands and looking for some new ones. I have signed Victoria Couture and Dylan George and will confirm deals with two or three more US brands in the next few weeks.”