By  on May 7, 2018

If clothes could talk, those worn by Cameron Silver would have quite the stories to tell.The founder of Hollywood vintage retailer Decades, Silver has spent nearly four decades buying and curating his wardrobe, which contains more than 1,000 items, 300 to 400 pairs of shoes, 100 tuxedos and 100 pairs of jeans. Now he's divesting himself of some 400 pieces from his collection of avant garde and vintage fashion.Silver championed men’s fashion before men's wear was fashionable. "I’ve seen how men’s fashion has become so much more socially acceptable," he said. "For a man to have a sense of style is almost a requirement for success. I bought with the intention of looking at fashion as a way of life. I’d buy from a collection the best pieces that showed the social commentary of the times."Silver bought with abandon. "I acquired an obscenely large amount of clothing," he admitted. "I doubt that there are many men’s collections that are this vast or extreme. It’s a very eclectic style."The sale of Silver's cache began Monday at Decades. "In June, we’ll curate something specific for Grailed.com, a pre-owned men's wear site selling luxury brands. The hero pieces and most avant-garde pieces will be sold in store."Decades' 21st year in business and Silver's 50th birthday looming on the horizon in 2019 got him thinking about the nature of his buying and consuming. There was also the recognition that his lifestyle and body have changed over time. "I'm not 6'3" and 154 pounds anymore," he said. "I'm not that regimented anymore. My personal wardrobe has changed considerably. I have an on-air show on QVC."His role as design director of H Halston, which is sold on the television shopping network, calls for gray suits, of which he has many. "I can't wear a Mary Katrantzou printed suit on QVC. I kept historic pieces. Everything I wore to the Met ball, I kept," Silver said, referring to the annual fund-raising gala for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute in Manhattan. Nor is he parting with his Jean Paul Gaultier couture.

Logistics were also a factor in Silver's decision to divest. "I live in three cities. Los Angeles isn't my primary residence. My collection of clothing is housed all over my L.A. house. It's like the clothes have taken over," said Silver, who has an apartment in Manhattan and a house in Pennsylvania near QVC. "I’ve been living without access to these clothes for two years. As far as the divorce between me and my wardrobe, I’ve had time for a nice reconciliation."

The sale was also precipitated by a large donation Silver made in 2016 to the "Raining Men" exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "That — LACMA — felt amazing," Silver said. "There was a lot more editing to be done on my collection. The last six months I started going back in and finding things that in the trajectory of my fashion lifestyle were ready to be retired. All of these things have helped liberate me from my wardrobe."

His aesthetic challenges traditional assumptions about men's wear with boldly patterned and brightly colored, museum-worthy pieces including an Eighties Paco Rabanne haute couture Entomological jacket designed for an opera, $5,700; suiting from Alexander McQueen’s final collection, including an "Analyze That" graphic paint jacket, vest and shirt ensemble, priced at $4,589, and an extensive assortment of Hermès, including a rare Haut à Courroies Bordeaux crocodile travel bag, $125,000. 

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