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July 24 2014

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The Decades Of Style, Decoded By Cameron Silver

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As one of the pre-eminent purveyors of vintage, Cameron Silver‘s latest endeavor, Decades: A Century of Fashion, is an editorialized take on twentieth-century fashion in a way that befits the legacy he’s created at Decades, his retail concept since 1997. “I have always had the philosophy of vintage that looks modern, and that’s really the concept also of the book,” Silver describes of the coffee-table tome meets vintage fashion reference, which includes never-before-seen photos narrating each decade of the twentieth century alongside Silver’s first-person essays. “My goal is that when someone looks at the book and they see a picture, they think, I have to buy that—that looks so modern.” (And they really do look of-the-moment—the ruffle dress [pictured, left], looks so very Balenciaga Spring 2013 to us.) To delve deeply into each decade, Silver first identified the things, people, clothes, and settings that inspired his own reference to the time, and then he played with contradictions to show the breadth of design achieved over each ten-year period. “I always like the idea of contradiction, and every decade has these polar opposites that extend throughout it that really shape it,” he says.

And though he may live and breathe vintage fashion, Silver still keeps a studied eye on the present. “Designers who are excelling now are creating a new vocabulary, a new way of dressing,” he reflects of the Spring ’13 collections. “Things don’t look as derived from the past, which was completely acceptable for the first decade of the twenty-first century, or the ‘Decades decade’ because everything was so vintage-inspired. I’m seeing things I have never seen before—it’s a very healthy time.” And while Silver believes that for designers today, it’s a setup for failure to look too vintage, the unearthed photos published in his book may be ripe for the taking. “I have a feeling we’ll see a lot of the images in the book reinterpreted on the runway because some of them have never been published before.” Here, an exclusive first look inside the book.

Photos: Decades: A Century of Fashion

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