LONDON — Three people allegedly involved in the sale of fake punk-era Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren clothing, as well as counterfeit Banksy artwork, will appear before a London court on Aug. 18, charged with money laundering and fraud offences.
The three people are alleged to have manufactured and sold clothing, claiming it had been made by McLaren and Westwood in the Seventies, when the punk designers ran their King’s Road boutique, Sex, which was later renamed Seditionaries.
As part of the case, police seized clothing from the defendants’ homes and from London auction houses Kerry Taylor Auctions and Christie’s. A Kerry Taylor spokeswoman declined to comment, while a Christie’s spokeswoman said the company is aware of the situation and is cooperating fully with the authorities.
She added that demand for the Sex and Seditionaries-era clothing and accessories at auction was on the wane. “Buyers and collectors remain very cautious and require cast iron provenance and documentation before they will consider purchasing relics from the heyday of Punk London,” she told WWD.
“Vivienne Westwood’s designs have been copied for more than 30 years — throughout her career,” a Westwood spokeswoman said. “We rarely pursue counterfeit goods. It takes a lot of time and resources.”
As for McLaren, he said simply, “I hope [the court case] gains as much media coverage and publicity as possible.”
The case follows the seizure by London police in August of goods purported to be by the designers from residential addresses and auction houses in London.
The sale of Westwood’s early work has already led to contentious situations in the past. London clothing dealer Simon Easton has wrangled with both McLaren and the artist Damien Hirst over the veracity of vintage pieces.