A billionaire from the UK has bought a stake in the London-based label Ralph & Russo. Surprisingly, the man in question is John Caudwell, founder of Phones 4 U. The Stoke-born entrepreneur made an undisclosed investment in the couture label that is likely to have run into millions. His spokesperson said that Caudwell’s minority stake represents a “nine-figure” valuation of the company. The money will most likely be used to expand the business with a perfume and accessories line making it more accessible to a larger consumer base.
Ralph & Russo was founded in 2007 by two Australians, Tamara Ralph, a fashion designer and Michael Russo who is the CEO. The label specialises in handmade evening wear and has a long list of celebrity clients including Angelina Jolie, BeyoncÃƒ© and Sheikha Mozah of Qatar. The company have had a great year since they became the first British brand in almost a century to be invited to join Paris’s Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. It is the most elite club in fashion with other members including Chanel, Valentino and Dior.
Michael Russo said that the investment: “will fuel our product diversification and expansion strategy… The future is very exciting.” John Caudwell praised the label for their “endless potential”.
It is not clear what made the mobile phone entrepreneur want to add to his fashion portfolio. He was listed by Forbes earlier this year as Britain’s 18th richest person. The businessman sold his stake in Phones 4 U in 2006 for £1.46 billion. At least half of the philanthropist’s fortune will go to charity upon his death.