The Vampire’s Wife has joined the darkness

Popular with celebrities and royalty alike, The Vampire’s Wife, the label for glamorous, baroque dresses created by model and actress Susie Cave, has announced that it is to cease trading, almost ten years after its creation.


Vampire stories rarely end well…


Similarly, British womenswear brand “The Vampire’s Wife” has just suffered a sad epilogue.


Despite a period of growth and positive sales, the upheaval in the wholesale market has had dramatic consequences for the brand. The Vampire’s Wife therefore announces that it has unfortunately taken the decision to cease trading with immediate effect,” announced Susie Cave in a press release, sharing her ‘great sadness’ on social networks.


The former model, actress and muse of photographer David Bailey, had founded the label in 2015, known for its vintage, gothic and glamorous dresses, popular with celebrities and crowned heads, She had named it after a book started but never completed by her husband, Australian musician Nick Cave, aka the “Prince of Darkness”.


Popular with crowned heads and celebrities


British princesses Kate Middleton of Wales and Beatrice of York, actresses Charlotte Riley, Sienna Miller, Zooey Deschanel and Cate Blanchett, models Kate Moss and Alexa Chung, singer Florence Welch (Florence + The Machine) and other high-profile personalities have given the brand its heyday, wearing it on high-profile occasions or even at their weddings…


Official portrait of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge © Jamie Coreth/Fine Arts Commissions


For her official portrait in 2022 with Prince William, the Princess of Wales chose the label’s green Falconetti dress, which Vogue had already named “dress of the decade”.


Susie Cave’s dresses, inspired by the ’50s or Russian ballet, were particularly photogenic, with their flattering cuts and frilly details, while still highlighting the silhouette.


While some of her models were quite pricey (around £1,500 for the Falconetti), “The Vampire’s Wife” was also available in a more accessible version, thanks to a collaboration with fast-fashion retailer H&M at the end of 2020.


© The Vampire Wife H&M


Before bowing out, the brand offered a “last opportunity” to buy its clothes from May 24 to 26 at the Music Room in Mayfair, London.


Unpaid tax bill and covid


Over a year ago, the women’s ready-to-wear brand reported that it was threatened with liquidation due to an unpaid tax bill. The company’s debt had increased during the pandemic.


By July 2023, however, the House had announced its settlement, with existing investors conceding new financing. But this was clearly not enough to save the House. “The Vampire’s Wife” was finally the subject of a “winding-up petition” reported The Telegraph.


In the British press, many refer to the recent bankruptcy of Matchesfashion as the likely coup de grâce for the brand, after the covid crossing and the rise in commercial costs linked to the Brexit, but also with the inflationary situation. The closure of the online retailer of luxury brands was announced last March by Frasers Group, despite having acquired it two months earlier!


The iconic London department store Fenwick closed its doors for good last February, 130 years after it was founded.


As a result, existing brands have fewer opportunities to distribute their products, and increased competition is forcing them to cut margins to stay in the market.


The acute crisis of British fashion


Some point to the disappearance of tax-free tourism in the wake of Brexit as a major cause of the acute crisis in the British fashion industry. While tourists continue to visit London’s landmarks, they would now prefer to shop in Paris or London.


The British press continues to cite the impact of Fast Fashion and alternative consumption patterns, as well as second-hand and even rental clothing for fine pieces.


Against this backdrop, other British fashion labels and their manufacturers are experiencing unprecedented difficulties, from which some are still recovering, despite their reputation. Another British designer, Mara Hoffman, winner of the CFDA award for sustainability and whose creations were featured in the “Sex and the City” series, recently threw in the towel. And before her, the London labels Ralph & Russo (luxury fashion and accessories) in 2021 and Christopher Kane in 2023, had also stopped their activity.

A number of voices are now calling on the British government to do more to support its fashion industry, and to follow the example of the policies implemented in France and Italy in favor of this sector.


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Featured Photo: © The Vampire’s Wife

Picture of Sophie Michentef
Sophie Michentef
Sophie Michentef has worked for more than 30 years in the professional press. For fifteen years, she managed the French and international editorial staff of the Journal du Textile. She now puts her press, textile, fashion, and luxury expertise at the service of newspapers, professional organizations, and companies.

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