Maison Ullens, the Belgian luxury fashion brand, placed in liquidation

[vc_row njt-role=”people-in-the-roles” njt-role-user-roles=”administrator,editor,author,armember”][vc_column][vc_column_text]

The luxury women’s ready-to-wear brand founded in 2009 by Baroness Myriam Ullens, who was murdered last March by her son-in-law, is, according to information published on the Belgian National Bank website, undergoing a “voluntary dissolution-liquidation” procedure. The decision was prompted both by the economic abyss represented by its management and by the psychological shock of the tragedy.

Maison Ullens was a major player in Belgian luxury fashion, with several of its own boutiques in the United States. However, the pain of the tragic loss of its founder and the debts to be cleared were far too great for a serene future.

 

A luxury House struck to the core

 

The sudden death of the founder of a luxury House does not necessarily mean the death of the brand in question. For example, Maurizio Gucci and Gianni Versace were assassinated in front of their homes – in March 1995 and July 1997 respectively – but this did not kill their eponymous brands. Nor did the natural deaths of Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent, in October 1957 and June 2008 respectively.

 

However, luxury brands may have found the secret to immortality: depersonalizing the brand by eliminating the designer’s surname. While Paco Rabanne was one of the last luxury labels to take the plunge and become Rabanne, the founder of Maison Ullens also knew the trick. Indeed, a year after its foundation, the brand truncated the acronym MUS from Myriam Ullens de Schooten to take on its definitive name. Little did the Baroness know what was to come.

 

In March 2023, Myriam Ullens de Schooten Whettnall was shot dead in front of her home by her son-in-law Nicolas Ullens, amid family disagreements over inheritance, according to information from the public prosecutor’s office in Walloon Brabant, the French-speaking province where the tragedy occurred.

 

Guy and Myriam Ullens Schouthen © UCCA, 2007

 

The question then arose as to whether or not to pursue an entrepreneurial adventure launched fourteen years ago.

 

It all started with a cruise from Europe to Beijing. It was there that Myriam Lechien met Baron Guy Ullens, her husband and first supporter of her eponymous fashion label.

 

He had made his fortune in oil – via the family business, the Tirlemontoise refinery – and then in food processing, while she was a haute couture client and contemporary art collector.

 

One passion unites them, and will be the key source of inspiration for this up-and-coming brand: sailing.

 

Under the guidance of fashion designer Haider Ackermann for two years, the Baroness launched her women’s ready-to-wear label in Antwerp in 2009.

 

The collection is divided into three universes: a dominant travel theme, complemented by chic sportswear and more urban fashions.

 

Maison Ullens has become renowned for the quality of its leathers and knitwear.

 

In the course of its history, the brand has counted Catherine Deneuve and Melania Trump, then First Lady of the United States, among its distinguished customers.

 

Earlier this year, the brand had just acquired the services of Dries Van Noten’s former assistant, Christian Wijnants, as its third artistic director. Wijnants brought in more bold colors and larger pieces (coats and down jackets for the winter 2023-2024 collection).

 

© Maison Ullens

 

However, the tragedy left an indelible mark on the husband and staff, to the extent that “nobody wanted to continue”, according to the Belgian media Sudinfo.

 

But behind the emotional impact, it was the financial impact that proved decisive, as the press reports, noting the heavy debts that weighed on the brand as a result of both its distribution strategy and its reorganization.

 

A debt difficult to overcome

 

The latest financial report shows that the luxury ready-to-wear brand was already in a fragile state before the death of its founder, with losses of almost 10.6 million euros.

 

An exorbitant amount to keep the company afloat for the late founder’s husband Guy Ullens de Schooten.

The latter had already injected over 85 million euros into the company in recent years, as reported by the Gazet van Antwerp.

 

Back in 2017, however, the brand overhauled its organization by bringing its creative studio in-house, renouncing outside collaborations. For his part, Myriam Ullens’ husband divested himself of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), his contemporary art museum in China, as well as his private collection. However, as several media outlets have reported, the couple’s lavish lifestyle – including superyacht cruises – seems to have eroded their fortune.

 

In addition, the brand’s distribution strategy may have exacerbated the difficulties.

 

Distributed in some fifty multi-brand stores, the Maison also had three directly-operated boutiques in France and the United States at the time of the tragedy.

 

Present since 2013 in Aspen, Colorado’s posh ski resort, Maison Ullens had opened an 89-square-meter flagship in New York in 2020, right in the heart of the Madison Avenue district.

 

Maison Ullens tried to cut costs by rationalizing its physical points of sale, closing its London boutique, but it was not enough.

 

The other major point of expenditure concerns the noble materials used in the collections, which are essentially made in Italy: leather, shearling, silk and cashmere. Here again, the brand has refocused on its core business – women’s ready-to-wear – abandoning men’s collections, footwear and, more recently, leather goods.

 

© Maison Ullens

 

The 88-year-old billionaire Guy Ullens de Schooten finally decided to throw in the towel last June, seeking to sell the company as well as the Ohain villa in the green suburbs of Brussels – a 1,510 m² residence designed by architect Corbiau – near which his wife was murdered.

 

And so a page is turned in the kingdom of Belgium.

 

Read also> Disappearance of Myriam Ullens: a woman of 100 lives

Featured photo : ©Press[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row njt-role=”not-logged-in”][vc_column][vc_column_text]

The luxury women’s ready-to-wear brand founded in 2009 by Baroness Myriam Ullens, who was murdered last March by her son-in-law, is, according to information published on the Belgian National Bank website, undergoing a “voluntary dissolution-liquidation” procedure. The decision was prompted both by the economic abyss represented by its management and by the psychological shock of the tragedy.

Maison Ullens was a major player in Belgian luxury fashion, with several of its own boutiques in the United States. However, the pain of the tragic loss of its founder and the debts to be cleared were far too great for a serene future.

 

A luxury House struck to the core

 

The sudden death of the founder of a luxury House does not necessarily mean the death of the brand in question. For example, Maurizio Gucci and Gianni Versace were assassinated in front of their homes – in March 1995 and July 1997 respectively – but this did not kill their eponymous brands. Nor did the natural deaths of Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent, in October 1957 and June 2008 respectively.

 

However, luxury brands may have found the secret to immortality: depersonalizing the brand by eliminating the designer’s surname. While Paco Rabanne was one of the last luxury labels to take the plunge and become Rabanne, the founder of Maison Ullens also knew the trick. Indeed, a year after its foundation, the brand truncated the acronym MUS from Myriam Ullens de Schooten to take on its definitive name. Little did the Baroness know what was to come.

 

In March 2023, Myriam Ullens de Schooten Whettnall was shot dead in front of her home by her son-in-law Nicolas Ullens, amid family disagreements over inheritance, according to information from the public prosecutor’s office in Walloon Brabant, the French-speaking province where the tragedy occurred.

 

Guy and Myriam Ullens Schouthen © UCCA, 2007

 

The question then arose as to whether or not to pursue an entrepreneurial adventure launched fourteen years ago.

 

It all started with a cruise from Europe to Beijing. It was there that Myriam Lechien met Baron Guy Ullens, her husband and first supporter of her eponymous fashion label.

He had made his fortune in oil – via the family business, the Tirlemontoise refinery – and then in food processing, while she was a haute couture client and contemporary art collector.

 

One passion unites them, and will be the key source of inspiration for this up-and-coming brand: sailing.

Under the guidance of fashion designer Haider Ackermann for two years, the Baroness launched her women’s ready-to-wear label in Antwerp in 2009.

The collection is divided into three universes: a dominant travel theme, complemented by chic sportswear and more urban fashions.

Maison Ullens has become renowned for the quality of its leathers and knitwear.

In the course of its history, the brand has counted Catherine Deneuve and Melania Trump, then First Lady of the United States, among its distinguished customers.

Earlier this year, the brand had just acquired the services of Dries Van Noten’s former assistant, Christian Wijnants, as its third artistic director. Wijnants brought in more bold colors and larger pieces (coats and down jackets for the winter 2023-2024 collection).

 

© Maison Ullens

 

However, the tragedy left an indelible mark on the husband and staff, to the extent that “nobody wanted to continue”, according to the Belgian media Sudinfo.

 

But behind the emotional impact, it was the financial impact that proved decisive, as the press reports, noting the heavy debts that weighed on the brand as a result of both its distribution strategy and its reorganization.

 

A debt difficult to overcome

 

[…][/vc_column_text][vc_cta h2=”This article is reserved for subscribers.” h2_font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:16|text_align:left” h2_use_theme_fonts=”yes” h4=”Subscribe now !” h4_font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:32|text_align:left|line_height:bas” h4_use_theme_fonts=”yes” txt_align=”center” color=”black” add_button=”right” btn_title=”I SUBSCRIBE !” btn_color=”danger” btn_size=”lg” btn_align=”center” use_custom_fonts_h2=”true” use_custom_fonts_h4=”true” btn_button_block=”true” btn_custom_onclick=”true” btn_link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fluxus-plus.com%2Fen%2Fsubscriptions-and-newsletter-special-offer-valid-until-september-30-2020-2-2%2F”]Get unlimited access to all articles and live a new reading experience, preview contents, exclusive newsletters…

Already have an account ? Please log in.

[/vc_cta][vc_column_text]Featured photo : © Press[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row njt-role=”people-in-the-roles” njt-role-user-roles=”subscriber,customer”][vc_column][vc_column_text]

The luxury women’s ready-to-wear brand founded in 2009 by Baroness Myriam Ullens, who was murdered last March by her son-in-law, is, according to information published on the Belgian National Bank website, undergoing a “voluntary dissolution-liquidation” procedure. The decision was prompted both by the economic abyss represented by its management and by the psychological shock of the tragedy.

Maison Ullens was a major player in Belgian luxury fashion, with several of its own boutiques in the United States. However, the pain of the tragic loss of its founder and the debts to be cleared were far too great for a serene future.

 

A luxury House struck to the core

 

The sudden death of the founder of a luxury House does not necessarily mean the death of the brand in question. For example, Maurizio Gucci and Gianni Versace were assassinated in front of their homes – in March 1995 and July 1997 respectively – but this did not kill their eponymous brands. Nor did the natural deaths of Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent, in October 1957 and June 2008 respectively.

 

However, luxury brands may have found the secret to immortality: depersonalizing the brand by eliminating the designer’s surname. While Paco Rabanne was one of the last luxury labels to take the plunge and become Rabanne, the founder of Maison Ullens also knew the trick. Indeed, a year after its foundation, the brand truncated the acronym MUS from Myriam Ullens de Schooten to take on its definitive name. Little did the Baroness know what was to come.

 

In March 2023, Myriam Ullens de Schooten Whettnall was shot dead in front of her home by her son-in-law Nicolas Ullens, amid family disagreements over inheritance, according to information from the public prosecutor’s office in Walloon Brabant, the French-speaking province where the tragedy occurred.

 

Guy and Myriam Ullens Schouthen © UCCA, 2007

 

The question then arose as to whether or not to pursue an entrepreneurial adventure launched fourteen years ago.

 

It all started with a cruise from Europe to Beijing. It was there that Myriam Lechien met Baron Guy Ullens, her husband and first supporter of her eponymous fashion label.

 

He had made his fortune in oil – via the family business, the Tirlemontoise refinery – and then in food processing, while she was a haute couture client and contemporary art collector.

 

One passion unites them, and will be the key source of inspiration for this up-and-coming brand: sailing.

 

Under the guidance of fashion designer Haider Ackermann for two years, the Baroness launched her women’s ready-to-wear label in Antwerp in 2009.

 

The collection is divided into three universes: a dominant travel theme, complemented by chic sportswear and more urban fashions.

 

Maison Ullens has become renowned for the quality of its leathers and knitwear.

 

In the course of its history, the brand has counted Catherine Deneuve and Melania Trump, then First Lady of the United States, among its distinguished customers.

 

Earlier this year, the brand had just acquired the services of Dries Van Noten’s former assistant, Christian Wijnants, as its third artistic director. Wijnants brought in more bold colors and larger pieces (coats and down jackets for the winter 2023-2024 collection).

 

© Maison Ullens

 

However, the tragedy left an indelible mark on the husband and staff, to the extent that “nobody wanted to continue”, according to the Belgian media Sudinfo.

 

But behind the emotional impact, it was the financial impact that proved decisive, as the press reports, noting the heavy debts that weighed on the brand as a result of both its distribution strategy and its reorganization.

 

A debt difficult to overcome

 

[…][/vc_column_text][vc_cta h2=”This article is reserved for subscribers.” h2_font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:16|text_align:left” h2_use_theme_fonts=”yes” h4=”Subscribe now !” h4_font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:32|text_align:left|line_height:bas” h4_use_theme_fonts=”yes” txt_align=”center” color=”black” add_button=”right” btn_title=”I SUBSCRIBE !” btn_color=”danger” btn_size=”lg” btn_align=”center” use_custom_fonts_h2=”true” use_custom_fonts_h4=”true” btn_button_block=”true” btn_custom_onclick=”true” btn_link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fluxus-plus.com%2Fen%2Fsubscriptions-and-newsletter-special-offer-valid-until-september-30-2020-2-2%2F”]Get unlimited access to all articles and live a new reading experience, preview contents, exclusive newsletters…

Already have an account ? Please log in.

[/vc_cta][vc_column_text]Featured photo : © Press[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Tags

Picture of Victor Gosselin
Victor Gosselin
Victor Gosselin is a journalist specializing in luxury, HR, tech, retail, and editorial consulting. A graduate of EIML Paris, he has been working in the luxury industry for 9 years. Fond of fashion, Asia, history, and long format, this ex-Welcome To The Jungle and Time To Disrupt likes to analyze the news from a sociological and cultural angle.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Sign up now to receive sneak previews of our programs and articles!

Launch offer:

Your participation in the Camille Fournet Masterclass reserved for annual subscriber !

Luxus Plus Newsletter