He’s been inside the closets of some of the most fashionable women in the world, plucking out prime designer finds to sell on consigment in his store, Decades. Now retailer and "Dukes of Melrose" reality TV star Christos Garkinos is taking elements from the millions of pieces of clothing he’s had his hands on over the last three decades to create a new clothing collection for HSN.
The 14-piece collection, called Eureka, debuts on hsn.com Friday and is scheduled to be sold on the HSN Network March 20 and March 21. It includes dresses, peasant blouses, skirts and pants, all available in sizes 2 to 24 and priced from $59 to $119. For Garkinos, a longtime fan of broadcast retailer HSN, it represents a career milestone as well as a chance to create clothing for a wide demographic of women.
“I’m from Michigan and grew up among real women," he says. “I really became obsessed with Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren-type bodies.” In fact, while waiting to see Loren at a local mall in his hometown of Detroit, a 15-year-old Garkinos was so starstruck that he fell off his chair when the Italian actress waved to him. “She was wearing this peasant blouse and all I can remember as I fell was this great peasant blouse.”
His collection includes two peasant blouses, a style that's a nod to Loren and 1970s glamour as well as a versatile and forgiving piece that fits many body types.
“I think that the sexiest part of a woman is her shoulders,” says Garkinos. “As summer gets going you can bring the shoulder of the peasant blouse lower and lower as your tan gets better and better.”
The more than 13,000 women he’s dressed during his fashion career have taught Garkinos a lot about fit and the areas of the body about which women are most sensitive. His sister Rene also serves as a muse for the line.
“I would see something in someone’s closet and think, ‘This would be so great for my sister, but she’s a size 14.’" Pieces in his colection such as the boucle cardigan sweater, pleated shirt dresses and black obi belt are all designed to be figure-flattering and wearable whether a woman is straight or curvy. When his line is shown on HSN television on March 20, his sister will be there as one of his on-air models.
“I am not a fan of women trying to hide anything,” says Garkinos referring to times when women sport long shirts to cover their backsides or wear boxy pieces that can look overwhelming and unflattering. “With the trick of an eye you can make it work better for you. I mean, c’mon. We’re in the time of the Kardashian, show your tuchus!”
Garkinos was inspired by his Greek heritage when it came to choosing colors and patterns for the collection. “Being Greek I love blues,” he says. “Luckily these brilliant blues have become big colors for spring.”
Garkinos has been dubbed “The Robin Hood of Fashion” for rescuing high-end items from the fanciest closets and making them accessible to the masses. Now the thought of seeing pieces from his own collection hanging next to Chanel and Dior in the closets he has visited over the years seems surreal experience t him.
“It will be nice to see my jacquard print jacket next to a Chanel,” he says. “This has all come full circle for me. It’s going to be really great.”