(NEW YORK) We’ve known him as the King of Vintage for years now, but middle America is finally getting a taste of his charms and wit in his new Bravo reality hit, Dukes of Melrose. Cameron Silver gave us a ring to fill us in on life as a celeb, his love of Broadway, and why he won’t be hitting Marie’s Crisis with Hedi Slimane anytime soon.
BY EDDIE ROCHE
We understand your book Decades: A Century of Fashion has been selling well!
It’s just about to hit its second printing. The concept of the book is a hybrid coffee table slash essay book, and it’s beautiful enough to match anyone’s mansion or apartment. Each decade of the 20th century has a first-person essay about what happened during that decade and the most amazing imagery, most of which has never been seen before, to accompany the essay.
Do you get asked what your favorite decade is by people all the time?
Oh yes, yes! When you’re the founder of a store called Decades, it’s sort of the inevitable question, to which I have a very Sophie’s Choice answer. I actually have two answers. The first is that I’m the Switzerland of fashion and I love all my decades, but I’m personally mostly drawn to the seventies for several reasons. It’s kind of the birth of American fashion internationally. Also, I became aware of fashion in the late seventies because I was born in ’69, so I was timed for what Studio 54 was about and that Halston aesthetic. To me, it’s something that’s very relevant to the way I aspire to live, except without the coke and excessive orgies. Anything Halston makes me nostalgic for a life I never lived. I always laugh when someone goes “Did you ever go to Studio 54?” and I’m like, “I’m not that old”. I mean, I’m old in this business, but I’m not that old.
Are you getting recognized now that you’re a Bravo-lebrity?
It’s interesting; in New York I was getting recognized a lot, probably because I was going to a lot of theatre. The same queens who watch Bravo go to Broadway shows. Airports are where people really recognize me. It is actually kind of funny because I’m not famous; I’m fame-ass. It doesn’t happen that much, but when it does, I’m really flattered. In the past month I’ve seen Kinky Boots, I’ll Eat You Last, Patti Issues, and The Big Knife. I’m a big theatre junkie. I used to be an actor. That’s what I got my bachelor’s degree in. This is the irony; I’m a native of L.A. I live in Hollywood and I work with actors and actresses all the time but I never see movies but you take me to New York and I’m at the theatre every night.
Do you feel confident having cameras on you for a reality show?
Absolutely not confident whatsoever! It’s a show. It’s Bravo. I knew what I was getting into: it’s not 100 percent flattering, and there’s manipulated drama that happens…or gets edited in, I should say. I haven’t seen the entire 12 episodes, but I’m mostly proud that people are really drawn to the fashion history lessons. I knew the show would be entertaining, but it was very important to me that it’d be informative, and even successful, I hope. We’ll let America be the judge of that.
Of the female celebs you’ve dressed, which getup are you most proud of?
It’s so eclectic. It’s usually the most recent. I love Jamie King at the Oscar party in Chanel Couture. The dress was from ’91, and Claudia Schiffer had famously worn it on the runway. I also liked Lana Del Ray in a white Saint Laurent that she wore to the Echo Awards in Germany.
Speaking of, what do you think of the recent Saint Laurent collection?
Let’s just say, I understand that my name is on the list of people that Hedi Slimane hates in Los Angeles. Being the messiah of fashion you’ve got to deliver the second coming. I didn’t like that first collection: I thought it was perfectly fine, but it just looked sort of two decades ago. And the most recent grunge one? Some of it was just too Topshop or H&M for me. This is my frustration. I think he’s an epic talent. I actually have a lot of men’s YSL that he did the first time around when he was at Yves Saint Laurent. I just haven’t really gotten it yet. I guess it’s selling? I don’t know, though; I’ve seen tons of it on the rack at Barney’s. I want him to be successful! It’s not in my interest as a fashion supporter to see him fail. It’s just not what Yves Saint Laurent is about to me. I’m also not into rich people looking like they bought cheap clothes. When you do high-low, let the high be high and the low be low.
What do you love the most, with so much on your plate?
Interaction with anonymous people who love fashion. What’s brought me the most joy in the past 16 or 17 years is people who’ve worked for me, who have gone on to have really nice careers. Be it a former intern who is now Jim Moore’s assistant at GQ or another employee who now has his own collection in London. I like that sort of nice mentoring experience. I love meeting people who are just fascinated by fashion, and don’t necessarily have as much access to it just because of where they live but they are interested in it.
Who coined you the King of Vintage?
British Vogue. They did a story on me and the cover described me as “The King of Vintage at Home.” I’m glad they called me the king, not the queen.