New owners bring hedge fund money and design skills to Savile Row tailor Huntsman
Wednesday 09 January 2013
The hedge fund multi-millionaire Pierre Lagrange and his partner, the Mayfair-based designer Roubi L'Roubi, have snapped up one of Savile Row's most famous names.
Huntsman, the Savile Row tailor which made the white-tie outfits for Hugh Bonneville's Lord Grantham character in Downton Abbey, has been bought by the pair for an undisclosed sum.
The 163-year-old business, which counts King Edward VII, Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Lawrence Olivier and Humphrey Bogart among its former clients, was sold by private investors who have owned the brand since 2005.
The business, which has a joint venture with Alexander McQueen, is one of the biggest names on the famous tailoring street.
Mr L'Roubi, a British-born designer of Sudanese origin, has a background mainly in womenswear and started his career working with Joseph Ettedgui, the creator of the womenswear brand Joseph.
He is now the creative director and co-owner of Huntsman and will work with the current team, which includes general manager Peter Smith and head cutter Patrick Murphy.
Mr Smith said: "This investment comes at a great time for Huntsman, allowing us to build on the success we are currently enjoying with a strong in-house bespoke business, both here and abroad, complemented by made-to measure and ready-to-wear."
Mr L'Roubi, who recently worked with the country pursuits outfitter Holland & Holland, says he will use his womenswear experience to expand Huntsman's collections. His Mayfair couture business is expected to be merged with the label.
Mr Lagrange, a Belgian-born financier who is estimated to be worth at least £120m, co-founded the GLG hedge fund which was bought by Man Group in 2010.
He and his wife Catherine gave each other "divorce gifts" of Ferraris when he left her and their three children in 2010 before starting a relationship with Mr L'Roubi. The pair divide their time between homes in London, Hampshire and New York.
A number of Savile Row tailors have changed hands recently. Last year the Royal tailor Gieves & Hawkes was bought by a subsidiary of Li & Fung, the Chinese retail giant. Li & Fung's Hong Kong-listed subsidiary Trinity owned the licence to sell Gieves & Hawkes in China and bought the rest of the business in April.
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