Women from all over Chattanooga gathered at Alice Blue Boutique in Riverview in September to peruse unique vintage and vintage-inspired clothing and accessories presented by Cameron Silver, best-selling author of “Decades: A Century of Fashion and Fashion.” Silver is the director of H by Halston and H Halston and has dressed a host of celebrities, including Jennifer Lopez, Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts.
The esteemed fashion expert, who has an eye for vintage luxury, doesn’t just focus on the illustriousness of the big cities; he “respects all who are interested in fashion, expressing their personal style and love of vintage.” This explains the success of his trunk show at Alice Blue.
To Silver, vintage couture doesn’t just include the outrageously expensive, high-end finds. He promotes vintage because he feels “fashion is visceral: the clothes we wear are charged with emotions and memories.” He believes that “the prior owner of a piece of clothing brings spirit to its timeless appeal.”
In his book, originally published in 2012 and now in its third printing, he recalls purchasing vintage pieces with sentimentality and admiration. He tells intimate stories of visiting these mistresses of fashion and buying their styles, only to pass their vivacity to the next buyer.
Additionally, he delineates each era of style as a work of art and interprets those styles as they relate to the culture of the times. Silver opened Decades, the LA vintage couture boutique in 1997, after years of collecting unique vintage discoveries. His success was eminent as celebrities began to realize his passion for one-of-a kind finds. He’s also been charmed with the unique fashion of some of the smaller cities he’s visited on his tour: Chattanooga showed an especially impressive turnout for his vintage couture trunk show.
“I can’t wait to return to explore some of the chic closets [of these gals], since I met so many stylish women during my recent visit,” Silver said.
Living in smaller cities can pose a shopping dilemma for even the most creative buyers. Standard department stores hardly provide the unique rarity of vintage clothing; however, Silver advises to mix modern with classic and to choose iconic pieces “such as a perfect 1950s little black dress, an ’80s Chanel jacket, a bold statement necklace from the 1970s, and other timeless designs.”
If shoppers are so inclined to explore the internet or little boutiques on holiday, he offers advice, insisting that condition is paramount, and that quality precludes quantity. Silver reminds us that vintage clothing doesn’t always have to be high-end designer to be fabulous, adding that “sometimes a custom goddess dress from the 1960s with no label can rival the Parisian couture inspiration.”
In Silver’s words, “Decades: A Century of Fashion” is “a refreshing exploration of the 20th century of fashion with unexpected imagery matched with an informative history of fashion.” To us Chattanooga folk, it is not only a beautiful book full of art and photographs to adorn the most prominent coffee table, but also an intricate look at fashion in response to social and political climates through the years. But more importantly, it’s a pretty darn good read.