He’s been called the King of Vintage and the Duke of Melrose, but Cameron Silver’s various monikers come down to one thing: a voracious appetite for extraordinary designer clothing that captures the time and culture in which it was created.
His store Decades, on Melrose Avenue since 1997, has been a capsule for vintage clothing — once owned by celebrities and socialites and plucked from auctions and estate sales — that find new owners and closets to call home. Dozens of designers have frequented the store to gather inspiration and direction from the archives.
After years of amassing pieces, Silver has acquired an impressive collection of vintage and designer menswear for his own wardrobe. As a friend and muse to designers from Clare Waight Keller to Haider Ackermann, he has had front row and behind-the-scenes access to significant menswear collections.
Twenty years into owning Decades, and busy with his current post as fashion director of the H by Halston and H Halston brands, Silver has embarked on another project, albeit a more personal one. He has decided to curate a sale of a large portion of his belongings.
“I wanted to find pieces that, whether they were vintage or I was buying something of the season, represented the zeitgeist of the season,” Silver says of his method for collecting clothing during the past 20 years. “Sometimes I just wanted to have the pieces because I knew [they] would be a great photo opp. I’m very lucky I have great access to clothes. And I had relationships with designers, so many pieces were runway samples that they were happy to see live not just in a magazine or in an editorial but on an actual human being. With access came excess.”
Inside Decades on a recent summer day, racks and racks of Silver’s personal archive are a timeline of men’s fashion and a creative arc of some of today’s most revered designers. There are plenty of one-of-a-kind pieces, including a black Paco Rabanne cocoon-like top with tentacle-like details made for an opera and a shimmering pink Versace for H&M suit that Silver wore to a gala for the Museum of Contemporary Art, worthy of a true peacock moment.
“I’ve been a muse and amusing to many designers,” Silver says jokingly, “because I was the guy who was not afraid to wear something a little over the top. Now, it’s no big deal. You see a lot of celebs dressed like I am today.”
There is a noticeable amount of Jean Paul Gaultier, Gucci and Saint Laurent in the mix. A black wool Céline cape isn’t far from a fur-lined robe that Silver picked up on a trip to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. However, the lot excludes the items given to museums and those that Silver just couldn’t part with, such as a rare men’s smoking coat that Cristóbal Balenciaga made for his business partner.
“What’s amazing with these clothes is there’s photos of me wearing all of them. They all have a backstory,” Silver says of the pieces being sold. “The clothes were all worn in very happy times, and it’s nice to pay it forward.”