For celebrity stylist Cameron Silver, clothing isn’t just something to wear. It’s a piece of history.
Over the past 20 years, he’s amassed a lot of it at his high-end store Decades in Los Angeles. Think swoon-worthy Hermes scarves from the ’40s, couture gowns from the ’50s, the occasional one-of-a-kinds straight from the runway.
In 2012, he authored a book on the subject, “Decades: A Century of Fashion.” His fashionable adventures with business partner Christos Garkinos also are the subject of Bravo TV’s reality show “Dukes of Melrose.”
These days, Silver can be seen sharing his sartorial expertise with his signature smile and approachable charm on QVC as fashion director of the H by Halston and Halston brands, the latest incarnation of legendary designer Roy Halston Frowick’s namesake brand.
“My goal is to help someone find something that makes them feel beautiful,” he says. “I love that I can be entertaining but also educational.”
Pittsburghers recently got a chance to learn from the King of Vintage himself at a two-day trunk show at designer Diana Misetic’s Little Black Dress showroom in Shadyside. He brought a sensational slice of Decades with him for locals to browse and buy.
Here are some of his tips for making the most of your next vintage shopping excursion:
— Ask yourself, “Does this look modern?” It seems ironic, but when you’re choosing something vintage, the idea is you’re choosing something that pushes fashion forward. Vintage dictates modern trends.
— Sexy is in the eye of the beholder. Does it make you feel attractive? You don’t want it to look like a costume. If it looks like something you’re going to trick-or-treat in, that’s a problem. If it makes you look like a treat, that’s OK.
— Don’t be seduced by a label. Condition is paramount. Just because it’s a great label doesn’t mean it’s good. Realize that not everything can be saved. How much plastic surgery do you want to do on a garment? Sometimes, you just can’t make it look the way you want it to look.
— Your tailor is more important than your shrink. Don’t get so caught up in if something doesn’t fit you perfectly. It’s OK to have something tailored. I don’t encourage someone to bastardize a historic garment, but giving that garment renewed life and a renewed purpose through simple tailoring is OK.
— Take time to learn a garment’s story. To me, it’s the intimacy of going into a woman’s closet of a certain age who pulls something out and says, “This is the dress I met my husband in” or “met the royal family in Kuwait.” It’s completely visceral and storytelling. The minute those ladies are gone and the stories are gone, I don’t think I’ll be doing this anymore.
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