Fraudulent Label Switching. I am overwhelmed and deeply grateful for your support.
It is interesting to note some of the experiences I have heard about in response to this post.
- There is the story of a buyer of vintage couture who bid on a 1950s Balenciaga gown by phone that was being offered at a very well known auction house. The labels were clearly shown in the photos of the gown on the auctioneer's website. When the gown was received by the buyer, however, only a corner of the label remained. The rest had been removed by someone during the auction preview.
- There is the story of a fellow seller who sent a vintage dress by an important designer off to be dry cleaned by a well known firm in New York that offers special handling and care of couture garments. When the dress was returned to the seller, the label was "missing".
- There is the story from a former store owner who told me of the Dior numbered couture label that was torn out of a vintage jacket that was for sale in her store. She also reported about Chanel buttons being removed from garments.
- There is the story of a local vintage clothing auction where an early Oscar de la Renta label was sewn by machine into the side seam of a cheap 1980s nylon nightgown. The garment was being offered as a "vintage evening gown". The auctioneer didn't know better.
Sad, isn't it?
For more information and tips about protecting yourself from fraud in the vintage industry, read Hollis's excellent posts about "Vintage Shopping: Buyer Beware" at her blog, Past Perfect Vintage.