Vintage guru Cameron Silver has been busy. In addition to running his two boutiques Decades and Decades Two, he’s shot a reality TV show for BRAVO which will air sometime this fall, he has designed a denim line, and wrote a book called Decades: A Century of Fashion out this month. We caught up with him on the phone while he was lost in Hollywood & Highland, looking for the Louis Vuitton boutique. We ran an edited Q&A with Silver in our October issue, but here is the interview in its entirety:
What inspired you to write the book?
It was suggested by a friend. There was a point of view that I wanted to explore. What’s unusual in this book is it’s celebrating identity in fashion. It is also a hybrid coffee table book. I wanted it to be intellectual and artistic. I don’t like how there is nothing to read in coffee table books, so we did an essay for each decade. It’s not the history of fashion—it’s my perspective on it. The Decades brand was built on the notion that the past is modern. It is interesting how you can look at a photo and even a painting from the turn of the century and see how it is relevant 60 years later.
What are some tips for mixing vintage and contemporary clothes?
Looking at vintage in modern way is the key to styling yourself. Think about how it’s relevant today. Look at an Edwardian dress and juxtapose it with modern shoe. Obviously the vintage piece will be the conversation starter. Never do head-to-toe vintage fashion. Have the vintage piece be the star. Make sure you look modern not vintage.
What are three tips for taking care of vintage?
Beware of light damage, mothballs, and dry cleaning damage. Go back to basics and hand-wash really delicate things.
What are three essential pieces every woman should have in their wardrobe?
A little black dress and she knows how to make it not look black with the accessories she wears. A Chanel skirt because you never know when you’re going to meet the Pope. A great ‘70s-looking jersey dress in a jewel tone. All these pieces are still part of a modern woman’s wardrobe even though they are from different decades.
You’ve designed a denim collection, do you think there are any rules for when and where you can wear jeans in L.A.?
I think jeans are certainly essential to a wardrobe. I love the idea of black tie denim, that’s chic. Where I have issues with denim is the lazy man’s way of dressing. Denim is a great foundation to everyone’s wardrobe. You should mix it up. Denim should not be your conversation piece. That’s where I take issue with tricked out denim.
L.A. is kind of known as a denim capitol, do you think this reputation hurts L.A.’s position in the fashion world?
I think L.A. is the fashion capitol of the world. The dresses in every runway show in Europe are going to end up on the red carpet or get photo graphed in L.A. because we are an editorial [media] capital. Even though we might manufacture the most denim, we have James Galanos who is considered a top couture designer and exciting new talents. Also, now that Hedi Slimane [creative director for YSL] moved here it will be very interesting to see how much creativity flows into Los Angeles. I think it will be really exaggerated how many creative people come here. We are also the contemporary art capitol and then I think what comes next is becoming the creative fashion center of the world.