The boss of a celebrity clothes boutique is suing one of her fashionista customers after claiming she fleeced her out of her £1.3million in life savings by pretending to be ‘as rich as a Rothschild’.

Bridget Hutchcroft (60), is the boss of Pandora’s Knightsbridge-based fashion agency Pandora. She has served a variety of famous and wealthy customers over the years, including Diana, Princess Of Wales.

Ekaterina Barrett (64), she says, became close to her after purchasing some of her “valuable collection” of designer clothing that she was selling in her shop. 

The relationship between the two women turned sour, Ms Hutchcroft says, after she lent her friend £1.3million in a series of loans as she was going through a divorce.

Ms. Barrett, however, refused to return the money. She claimed in court that there had never been an agreement that amounts received would be loans.

Bridget Hutchcroft, 60, claims that she lent her friend, Ekaterina Barrett,  64, £1.3million of her life savings in a series of loans when she was going through a divorce

Bridget Hutchcroft, 60, claims that she lent her friend, Ekaterina Barrett,  64, £1.3million of her life savings in a series of loans when she was going through a divorce

Ms Hutchcroft says she has been the victim of ‘fraudulent misrepresentation’ on the part of her ‘exploitative’ former friend, who she claims posed as a ‘multi-multimillionaire’ with riches ‘equivalent to a Rothschild’ in order to induce her to make the loans.

After being declared ‘ill’ by her boss at the fashion store, Barrett is now seeking to sue her at the High Court in order to recover her money. She was also threatened with losing her home. 

She defends the action by stating that she is a wealthy woman, but she denies bragging about it to Ms Hutchcroft.

According to Ms. Hutchcroft, any money she received was for her fashion pieces from her amazing collection that she sold to the boutique or for reimbursement of spending she made on behalf of Ms Hutchcroft in Monaco.

The Pandora Dress Agency, a London fixture, has been successful in Knightsbridge for fashionistas in the know since it was established more than 70 year ago. This is just after the Second World War.

It is located just behind Harrods and has reportedly served celebrities such as Ava Gardner, Princess Diana, and Catherine Zeta Jones.

Boutique sells vintage designer clothes that are less than 2 years old.

Daniel Burkitt for Ms Hutchcroft explains how they got into a row in papers to London’s High Court.

It says: “In July 2017 Ms Hutchcroft and Mrs Barrett met in the shop.

‘Ms Hutchcroft noticed Ms Barrett’s two greyhounds. Ms Barrett asked Ms Hutchcroft for help and she began dog sitting Ms Barrett.

“Ms Hutchcroft met Ms Barrett in the month that followed.”

Ekaterina Barrett, in a WhatsApp picture sent to friend Bridget Hutchcroft, who is suing for 'fraudulent misrepresentation'

Ekaterina Barrett in a WhatsApp photo sent to Bridget Hutchcroft by friend. She is being sued for fraudulent misrepresentation.

The barrister said Ms Barrett told Ms Hutchcroft at this point that she was ‘fabulously wealthy’, a ‘multi-multi-millionaire’ who did not have to work and that she was the beneficiary of a massive trust set up by her grandfather.

Ms Hutchcroft said that at some point Ms Barrett’s manager told her, too, that her wealth was “equivalent to the Rothschild”.

The exact fortune of the Rothschilds’ family has been deemed impossible to determine, but some reports estimate their worth to be $1trillion (£754billion). 

In September 2017, she claims Ms. Barrett said to her that money was needed because of problems with cash withdrawals from her trust funds.

Daniel Burkitt was Hutchcroft’s attorney. He continued, “Ms Barrett asked for a short-term loan. Ms Hutchcroft accepted to make it.”

“Mrs. Barrett immediately increased her initial request, stating that she was divorcing from her husband of English and required funds to pay her solicitors.

He requested a series of additional loans, Ms. Barrett “sulked” and/or became hyperventilated if Ms. Hutchcroft denied, he stated.

The barrister states that Ms Hutchcroft became afraid of Ms Barrett as a result. She was also under pressure to loan her money to both appease Barrett and to recover money she had borrowed her.

The barrister added that that she she had eventually parted with ‘all her money’, which was a total of £1,368,524.19.

Ms Hutchcroft, boss at Pandora Dress Agency, pictured, has been a successful fixture in Knightsbridge for in-the-know fashionistas since its establishment more than 70 years ago. She says she became friends with Ekaterina Barrett, 64, after buying some of her 'valuable collection of items of high-end designer fashion' to sell in her shop

Since its inception more than 70-years ago, Ms Hutchcroft has been the boss of Pandora Dress Agency. Ekaterina Barrett (64), she says, became close friends after purchasing some of Ekaterina’s ‘valuable collection’ of designer clothing to put in her shop.

Ms Hutchcroft demanded repayment on ‘increasingly desperate terms’, but claimed that she was told by Ms Barrett that she had to wait ‘one hundred years’ if Barrett didn’t pay her.

According to her barrister, “Throughout these conversations Ms Barrett continued sending Ms Hutchcroft pictures on WhatsApp about expensive shopping trips.

The conduct of Ms. Barrett is consistent with the fact that she took advantage of Ms. Hutchcroft. 

‘The wealth representations were false in that Ms Barrett was not a “multi-multi-millionaire”.

Ms. Barrett was not named as a beneficiary in the trust. Ms. Barrett didn’t own any high-value properties in London.

Edward Cumming, QC for Ms. Barrett, refuted the allegations in defense to the action.

According to him, Ms. Barrett was rich and had a Mayfair home at Curzon Square. It is also where Keith Moon’s death in 1978 occurred. She didn’t brag about her wealth to convince Ms Hutchcroft not to take her money.

He added, “Ms. Barrett is an expert on high-end couture.

The author stated that she has owned an extensive collection of expensive designer clothes and accessories for many years and tried to make a profit from it from time to other.

The truth of the matter is that claimants took advantage of Ms Barrett’s charm, during a difficult time in her life, when she was coming to terms with the loss of her husband and her new partner. They were able acquire hundreds of expensive pieces of couture and designer fashion.

“The claimants then failed to correctly account for the item and any proceeds from sale and sought to extract significant sums of money from her with false claims that amounts she received for her items were loans.

Ms Barrett, her barrister claims, ‘sold directly to Ms Hutchcroft and/or Pandora various designer handbags and watches, and made available many other valuable items of high-end designer fashion to Ms Hutchcroft and/or Pandora’ to the tune of £1,703,000.

The fashion shop boss is now suing Ms Barrett at the High Court to get her money back after being made 'ill ' after the loss of her life savings and subsequently, the threat of losing her home

Now, Ms. Barrett has been sued by the boss of the fashion shop to obtain her money back.

He says that the vast majority of payments are Ms Hutchcroft payments of amounts due to and owing Ms Barrett for sales of handbags, watches and designer items which Ms Barrett had given to Ms Hutchcroft/or Pandora.

‘A consequence of the relative informality in Ms Barrett’s transactions with Ms Hutchcroft und Pandora, the personal nature of Ms Barrett’s relationship with Ms Hutchcroft’s and the trust Ms Barrett put in Pandora, Ms Barrett failed to keep detailed records about the items that she sold and made readily available, or any prices agreed upon.

“Ms Hutchcroft insisted that Ms Barrett pay alleged loans she claimed did not exist, and has done so since around mid-2019.

It was not agreed that Ms Barrett received money from Pandora, Ms Hutchcroft, or Pandora as loans. And Ms Barrett has never sought a loan from Pandora, Ms Hutchcroft.

He also defended the claim for repayment of “loans,” but he claimed that Ms Barrett was counter-claiming to obtain items from her collection, which she claims are still in Ms Hutchcroft’s possession.

Ms. Hutchcroft obtained a temporary freeze on assets from her friend, Judge Sam Grodzinski. This was done as part of the pretrial hearing.

Judge Grodzinski refused Ms Barrett’s bid to replace the freezing order with personal undertakings and a request that her allowance for personal living expenses be upped form £2,000 a week to £5,000 a week.

Additionally, he ordered Barrett to sign an affidavit listing her global assets.

It is expected that the case will return to court next year for a full hearing.