Alan Lewis vs David Mason: Battle of the tailors from Savile Row

Tory vice-chairman in court fight over the brand that dressed Jagger and Cher
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The Independent Online

A Conservative Party vice-chairman arrested on a historic allegation of rape is in court this week over the use of the name of a Savile Row tailor that dressed Elton John and Cher.

Alan Lewis, 75, is appealing against a legal decision to revoke his use of the name Tommy Nutter, a tailor who was huge in the swinging sixties and whose business traded under his name.

Mr Lewis, Tory vice-chairman for business, was held by police last month following allegations from a woman that she was attacked over 40 years ago. He has been bailed pending further inquiries.

Mr Lewis's J&J Crombie will face Nutters of Savile Row owner David Mason in the High Court. Mr Mason, who is also creative director at Anthony Sinclair, the tailor behind the suits in the original James Bond films, has been trading under the name Nutters of Savile Row via his Nutters Holdings business.

Nutters' heyday was in the 1960s and 1970s, when the tailor rose to fame for dressing rock stars and made the outfits for Mick and Bianca Jagger's wedding. Tommy Nutter himself died in 1992, but by then various trademarks and brand names had been created and were owned by different people and businesses.

Crombie supplied Tommy Nutter with his cloth – including that used for the suit worn by Jack Nicholson's Joker in the 1989 Batman movie.

Mr Mason's Nutters Holdings won the right from the UK's Intellectual Property Office in February for the trademark to be revoked from J&J Crombie due to non-use.

Mr Lewis was ordered to pay costs of more than £3,000. However, he has appealed against the decision and has argued that he has kept the name in use.

A spokesman for Mr Lewis said: "Crombie owns the Tommy Nutter brand, and every season a range of Tommy Nutter branded clothing is available in Crombie stores in the UK."

The story of the Tommy Nutter brand is complicated further by revelations that Mr Lewis had been in talks to sell Tommy Nutter to a subsidiary of Fung Capital.

This is the private investment arm of the billionaire Fung family of Hong Kong, which separately controls the trading giant Li & Fung.

A spokeswoman for Fung Capital said: "This deal did not materialise. I can confirm Fung Capital is no longer in talks."

It is thought that the deal collapsed after the Fung-owned Savile Row Brands Management attempted to register the trademark in the UK.