Thursday, June 13, 2024

Australian fashion label Dion Lee goes into voluntary administration

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The Australian fashion label Dion Lee has called in the administrators in a major blow to the eponymous brand that has dressed celebrities such as Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa, the Duchess of Sussex and Troye Sivan.

The move came after the Australian retail chain Cue announced it had withdrawn its investment in the designer apparel.

The Australian arm of Dion Lee has been placed under the administration of Antony Resnick of the insolvency firm dVT Group as it evaluates the future of the business and looks to attract new investors.

Taylor Swift (second from right) wears a corset by Dion Lee at the Super Bowl in Las Vegas in February. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

The label has six retail stores in Australia and one in the US (its first North American shop opened in Miami late last year), which is Lee’s biggest market.

Resnick said he was urgently assessing “all options” relating to the US business.

“We are in the very early stages of our administration process and our focus right now is on speaking with the Australian and US-based team and getting across all the relevant operational and financial data,” Resnick said in a statement to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The retail stores in Australia and online store will continue to operate.

Dion Lee at the Sydney Opera House in May 2017. The designer is now based in New York. Photograph: Wendell Teodoro/AAP

The Sydney-born Lee, who is now based in New York, is a 2008 graduate of Tafe New South Wales’s Fashion Design Studio, whose notable alumni include Akira Isogawa, Bianca Spender and Nicky Zimmermann. He founded his namesake brand the following year, debuting his first womenswear collection at Australian fashion week at the age of 23.

Soon he was being hailed “the boy wonder of Australian fashion”, with luxury clothes that have been described as “body-conscious”, “sculptural”, “technical, yet sensual” and marrying “traditional tailoring with experimental construction”.

Models on the runway at Dion Lee’s spring 2024 fashion show in New York in September. Photograph: WWD/Getty Images

The label has been a fixture of New York fashion week since 2013, the same year Lee went into partnership with the Australian retailer Cue.

On Thursday Cue announced it had stepped back from the label. “After a recent strategic review, a decision has been made by the Cue Group to focus on our local Cue and Veronika Maine operations,” a spokesperson said.

In April this year, Dion Lee debuted a runway show at Shanghai fashion week, seen as a bid to reach the Chinese market.

Resnick said: “The Dion Lee brand is one of a handful of Australian fashion brands that has been able to break into international markets in recent years and there is no doubt as to the high creative regard in which it is held.

“It is regularly worn by cultural icons and influencers. It is noted in the industry for its unique designs, all of which should attract both local and international investor interest.”

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