Sunday 21 April 2013

An Interview with Duke of Melrose, Cameron Silver!

Photo by Douglas Friedman
Have you wondered how best to shop vintage, what items of clothes are a must, where to shop? Well now you can have the answers, from LA based Duke of Melrose, co-owner of Decades, Mr Cameron Silver.

About Cameron Silver, founder, co-owner Decades

Since Cameron Silver opened the doors of Decades in 1997, the dress code in Los Angeles has irrevocably changed due – in large part – to Silver exhorting his frequently-photographed, trendsetting clientele to “dress up!” He is widely recognized for his impact on runway trends from fashion’s new generation of designers in New York and Paris to the way a constellation of Hollywood’s brightest appear on the red carpet.

With the new guard of so many heritage houses from New York to Milan seeking inspiration at Decades, Silver is frequently tapped to consult on everything from re-imagining a brand’s identity to navigating its global launch. His current clients are confidential, but Silver has served as a creative consultant to Azzaro, Samsonite, Costume National, Pringle and Boucheron.

Named one of Time magazine’s “25 Most Influential Names and Faces in Fashion” in 2002, Silver is a favorite pundit on E! Entertainment, the Style Network and “Fashion File.” In January 2012, The Art of Elysium recognized Silver as the year’s Visionary and creative force behind their Heaven gala. He has written about luxury, from shopping to travel to his front row perch at the haute couture presentations, for Harpers Bazaar (UK), C Magazine, Departures,, and others.

Today, with more than a decade of Decades under his alligator belt, Silver is on an international tour to promote his coffee table book for Bloomsbury, Decades: A Century of Fashion showcasing an unexpected compilation of the most significant 20th century fashions, as well as many of the celebrities he collaborated with over the years. You can now take a peek into the Decades lifestyle will be accessible from the comfort of living rooms everywhere, as Silver and Garkinos are currently appearing in a new docu-series for Bravo.
I struggled writing these questions, purely because Cameron is so influential in the fashion world, I never thought I would find it so difficult to ask questions to someone I respect and look up to! I totally choked! After some long late nights I have decided to put aside my nerves and ask the thing I would like to know without over analysing and here it is…my interview with Cameron Silver.

 Photo by Douglas Friedman
Where has your love of fashion come from?
My parents.
Have you ever lost your way with your own sense of style?
You have to lose your way to find it!
Who is your favourite designer of all time?
Tough question, but perhaps Halston.
Where are your favourite places to shop?
Selfridges in London, L'Ecclaieur in Paris, FortyFiveTen in Dallas -- plus flea markets galore.
Do you have any tips on how to identify good vintage? (For example, if something doesn't have a label or how to spot if something is a modern repro vs genuine vintage)
Certainly a reputable dealer helps, but aside from that condition is paramount.  I can pretty much tell authentic vintage from modern repo pretty quickly but not sure how easy it is for a lay person?
How can you tell if something is couture as opposed to off the peg?
Haute Couture is identified as Haute Couture through certain stamping and if you look inside the garment the hand-stitching should be identifiable.
For those who are relatively new to buying vintage – How can you to tell if a vintage retailer is charging over the odds, especially as internet buying of vintage is becoming more popular.
One needs to be an educated consumer and just because it's online it doesn't mean its a bargain.  I am always shocked by how much an anonymous dealer will charge for a certain vintage piece over the web.  Do your homework.  
What do you think is the best way for the average person to source vintage clothing/accessories?
Flea markets and estate sales are fun.  eBay when you are careful too!
Generally the modern man’s image has gone from sloppy to sloppier (average joe guys looking like they are straight out of prison with saggy jeans etc) For us women, instant glamour can come from a stroke of red lipstick, seamed stockings, a great trench coat. Do you have some handy tips for men on how to become more dapper and stylish in a quick and easy way?
White shirt, nice tie or bow/tie, slim blue jeans, loafer, and a fitted blazer.  It's that easy.  Its not rocket science.  Get some khakis, colorful slim cashmere sweaters, a velvet blazer, a tuxedo, a minimal blue suit and you start building a wardrobe.  Add a few vintage eccentric pieces like Sulka pocket squares and cool 70s Gucci belts and you can be an icon in no time.
Are there some basic pieces us women should have?
Chanel-style suit, perfect LBD (little black dress), jewel tone blouses, Le Smoking tux, evening gown, dark blue jeans, khakis, pumps, sandals, flats, top handle bag, clutch, shoulder bag, statement vintage costume jewelry. That's a beginning.
Nowadays women obsess over body size and shape. The perception is that designers only cater for the smaller sizes. Do you have style advice for the more curvy/busty/plus size ladies?
Fashion must be democratic and regardless of your size, everyone deserves to look stylish and sexy.  Curvy girls look great in a 50s shape.  Embrace your attributes and show off the best parts!  
What is your favourite fashion decade?
If you could collaboration with anybody who would it be?
Everyone with whom I would dream of collaborating is probably dead!
How do you find fashions differ between LA and London?
LA is casual chic; London is street chic.
Personally for me Dita Von Teese is one of my style icons. You are the sole stockist of Dita Von Teese capsule collection. What has it been like working with her?
Dita is one of my fashion icons too!  Her collection is fantastic.  She's a consummate professional and a perfectionist.  I love her.

Describe Dita’s collection as you see it?
The essential black dresses and a tulle trench that are the foundation of your wardrobe and ideal for personalizing with terrific accessories.
Who are your biggest inspirations?
An eponymous collection.
Who would you love to dress?

I want to dress everyone.

Your house is on fire, you only have enough time to save 3 pieces of clothing, what would they be?

Oi Vey!  My Gaultier Paris Couture velvet dinner coat, camo jumpsuit, and feather puffer.
My idea of a fun night out would be to go to the theatre, watch a burlesque show or cabaret, all with cocktails.  What would your ideal night out involve?
Sounds perfect to me!

What music are you listening to right now?
My Pandora is usually very disco-centric.  I tend to not listen to much music outside the store however.

What are you afraid of?
Being irrelevant.

After this interview I love Cameron even more! I would love to go shopping with Cameron, and watch Dita perform her burlesque show in the evening with cocktails and maybe karaoke to end…or even a 70’s party!

For those of you lucky enough to have Bravo on your TV’s….you must tune in to watch Dukes of Melrose and see Cameron in action. I unfortunately cannot access this in the UK but anyone reading state side, get involved for your fashion fix!
For further info and to check out the store please visit
I hope you have enjoyed this interview and I would like to thank Cameron and Slate PR for their time.

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