Lisa Ho parts with Mad Cortes, is it farewell?

Perhaps it’s the global credit crunch or just the business of fashion, but today it was announced that edgy Australian label Mad Cortes needs a new financial backer or it will be the end of the brand founded by Mira Vukovic.

Australian designer, Lisa Ho, acquired a 51% share of the fashion label in 2006 for an undisclosed sum, but yesterday the company has ended her financial support citing poor sales as the reason.

“When you become part of a big corporation you need to generate certain numbers to pay your way and, with the (Mad Cortes) product being so niche, there was a very limited market for it,” Ho told The Australian newspaper yesterday. “A decision was made to not support it financially anymore.”

The final Mad Cortes collection, summer 2008/09 is currently available in stores and online at, and was a favourite with fashion editors, retailers and Australian fashion fans.

The brand was launched in 1996 by Mira Vukovic and her partner, with Mad Cortes going on to win a series of design awards, beginning with the prestigious Tiffany’s & Co New Designer Award in March 2004 at L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival and the inaugural Best Emerging Designer Award at Australian Fashion Week Spring Summer 05/06 in 2005.

Former Miss Universe and face of Myer, Jennifer Hawkins, recently modeled one of Mad Cortes’ custom-made gowns during the their summer 2008/09 launch with the model gushing about the brand. “Mad Cortes is really new to me but now that I know them I wear them a lot.”

Sadly Jen, you might not be. On the Myer catwalks at least.

This is sad news for Australian fashion, I remember working backstage at her Autumn/Winter 2005 show in Melbourne years ago, and the pieces were just gorgeous. Fingers crossed the brand finds a backer. -Ed