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Style Advice From the King of Vintage
Q&A with Decades owner Cameron Silver
Time Magazine crowned him one of the “25 most influential names and faces in fashion” and it’s easy to see why. Cameron Silver, owner of Decades Boutique, has been a driving force behind the rebirth of vintage clothing and accessories. His airy space in Los Angeles houses a history of style—be it a 1970s Halston gown, Cartier cuff or Hermès Birkin bag. Silver dishes on why quality and craftsmanship are always in fashion—no matter what decade.
Cameron, you are one of the world’s leading experts on vintage. First off, what is the true definition of vintage?
This is always changing, but officially, I like to think of something being vintage is at least 15 years old. However, more current designs are suddenly becoming collectible like Tom Ford for Gucci, Phoebe Philo for Chloe and John Galliano for Dior.
As far as vintage goes, who are your favorite designers and why?
I love Halston since the aesthetic of 1970s sexy disco chic is always appealing to me. Rudi Gernreich designs from the 1960s defy age and define modernity. Claire McCardell really invented the American sportswear movement in the 1950s. Yves Saint Laurent because, well, he’s YSL! Hermes…a vintage piece is as desirable as a brand new Birkin.
What are the five most important rules to live by when buying vintage?
Ask yourself “does this look modern” so you don’t buy anything costume-y. Don’t get seduced by a designer label—every designer did some duds in his/her tenure. Quality over quantity—buy the best. If it was junky 50 years ago it’s really junky today! If it is vintage and designer AND you can afford, please buy it—these pieces are rare. A little bit of alterations is not a big deal, but a major overhaul may be sacrilege!
What’s been your greatest vintage score?
A slew of 1950s Dior couture from the family of the original owner.
In terms of investment pieces, are there certain items that hold their value longer than others?
Eveningwear tends to hold its value and in auctions usually creates the biggest stir. Of course celebrity provenance helps, too!
Who is your style icon?
Personally, I love Cary Grant and Baron de Rede.
You’ve seen runway shows in every major fashion city. If you had to pick one show as a favorite, what would it be?
Christian Lacroix’s final couture show—it was a very intimate setting and it was quite emotional. It truly represented the end of couture in my book.
Is there a closet you haven’t seen but would love to?
Well, the closets that most interest me are the closets of the dead.