Hardy Amies, the Savile Row tailor, was on the brink of bankruptcy yesterday after a collapse in consumer demand for its range of womenswear. The company announced that it has filed a notice of intention to appoint an administrator, while the search continues for a rescuer.
The company appealed last week for more funds from its major backer, Arev Brands, an investment vehicle which holds a 49.3 per cent stake in the company, but was told there would be no more finance forthcoming. Arev has provided £1.5m in loans since April.
Administration would be a humiliating end for a prestigious brand name whose clients have included the actresses Vivien Leigh and Dame Helen Mirren, and British rock band The Zutons.
The firm's founder, Sir Edwin Hardy Amies, who died in 2003, became famous in 1952 as the man who dressed Princess Elizabeth, as she then was. Three years later he was granted a Royal Warrant.
The brand took on other high-profile clients such as the 1966 England World Cup team and the 1972 British Olympic squad. Sir Edwin shook up his traditional image when he created the futuristic costumes for Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, in 1968.
The group now has six outlets across the UK, including a store at Bristol's new Cabot Circus shopping centre. But it has reported losses for several years. In June, it warned that poor womenswear sales would see losses accelerate in the first half of this year and would continue into 2009.
It reported underlying losses of £1.1m in 2007, although this was an improvement on the £1.8m seen the year before.