Johanna Johnson: Brides frantic as celebrity fashion designer goes into liquidation.

By Stephanie Dalzell

Furious brides have lashed out at celebrity fashion designer Johanna Johnson, after discovering they could lose their wedding gowns when the business was placed into liquidation.

The designer, whose gowns have adorned a bevy of celebrities including Madonna and Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks, has been pursued in court by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and former employees for more than $1 million.

A NSW Supreme Court order to place the Alexandria-based business into liquidation came into effect today.

Tim Cook, from court-appointed liquidator Balance Insolvency, told the ABC he would now assess, secure and sell the designer’s assets.

He said he would also investigate whether any misconduct had occurred.

Johanna Johnson has been contacted for comment.

One bride-to-be, who did not want to be named, told the ABC when she confronted the designer about the future of her wedding dress, just hours before the business was due to be placed into liquidation, she was told to “just breathe”.

“She still maintains everything is going to be fine,” she said.

The woman, who has already paid for her $2,500 dress, said she believed she would never see her dress again, and had begun to search for another gown ahead of her August wedding.

“It’s just devastating … it’s heartbreaking,” she said.

Another told the ABC she had spoken to Ms Johnson several times, and had received similar assurances.

Johanna Johnson’s Facebook account has been inundated with messages from other women set to tie-the-knot, concerned they would also not receive their wedding gowns.

On April 26, just hours before the business was due to be placed into liquidation, one woman posted on the Facebook page: “I have been advised that the Court has appointed a liquidator. What does this mean for your ‘restructure’?”


To which the designer replied: “The court appointed liquidator does not apply today. All brides are covered under our US company…all our clients will of course receive their gowns”.

Many brides remained sceptical, demanding further information.

“Johanna Johnson’s [doors] have officially been closed by administrators. Her business has been handed to the liquidators and have stated it is very unlikely anyone will receive their dress. Please come forward Johanna… and confirm that you are telling us all the true [sic]!!!” one wrote.

Company owes more than $1 million to tax office
In an affidavit filed in the NSW Supreme Court earlier this month, the company’s voluntary administrator, Adam Shephard, stated the company owed $1.1 million to the ATO.

That included $300,000 in superannuation charges, with Mr Shephard finding the company had “failed to pay employee superannuation entitlements over many years”.

The administrator also stated the company owed $250,000 to a secured creditor, $250,000 to an external lender, $100,000 to trade creditors and debts to customers who had already paid for their clothes.

The designer’s debt came to light when the company’s former head of production, Alana Teasal, obtained a court order to have the company wound up.

She launched legal action after being owed more than $35,000 in employment entitlements and superannuation.

“This is a case where priority creditors, being past and present employees, are owed significant sums of money,” her barrister Hugh Somerville said.

“Whether there have been any breaches of the relevant Australian company law by Ms Johnson as the company’s sole director, is a matter for the liquidator, and potentially for the court.”

This post originally appeared on ABC News

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*** featured image via Facebook/Johanna Johnson

Tags: celebrity , current-affairs , fashion
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