Consider all bets off for hump-day outings this spring! Starting this Wednesday, we officially have a standing hot date with our couch and Bravo. The fashionable eve of TV begins with The Rachel Zoe Project, proceeds to her protégé's
Brad Brad World, and climaxes with a new sure-to-be hit, The Dukes of Melrose, profiling L.A.'s own to-die-for consignment boutique, Decades.
Co-owner Christos Garkinos is the go-to guy for heiresses needing a closet clean, celebs yearning for something unique for events, and well, just for a good time! And, lucky for us all, the quippy and well-dressed gent happens to be a close R29 pal, which means we scored access to his enviable Hancock Park home, plus got a gaggle of vintage-buying tips. So, step inside this treasure trove of cool objets d'art and an insane collection of threads, stat. Just don't forget to set your DVR first!
Photographed by Mike Rosenthal
Dukes of Melrose finally makes its debut tomorrow. What was the most bizarre part about filming a reality show, and what can we expect?
"The weirdest thing was that it felt natural for us — Cameron and I are showmen. As for what to expect: fashion to the n-th degree. Seriously, you will laugh, learn, and maybe shed a tear."
What's your own personal fave reality show?
"Tabatha Takes Over. It's a dream of mine to makeover retail shops."
Christos stands sentinel in a vintage East West jacket, Jil Sander top, and Gucci pants.
Does your eye for vintage carry over into your home?
"Yes, it's all about being modern in a '20s Spanish-style house. For example, our goal was to make our main room feel like a masculine drawing room."
What's the history of the house?
"It was built by an opera singer in 1923 — hence the high ceilings!"
Your abode was once an ad agency. How did you nab it?
"In the mid '90's the house was the HQ for my ad firm when I worked at Virgin. I would come here every day to approve copy. In 1999, the owner told me he was putting the place up for sale, so I told him I would buy it. I moved in one month later."
Where do you go to unwind?
"My own backyard! We hang out there all the time. And, get this: The grass is artificial! So chic and green."
We heard this crazy story that you met a woman who was born in your house.
"After a few years of living here, a 90-year-old woman — whom I had seen around the neighborhood — came up to me and asked if I liked the house. I said yes, and she revealed that she was birthed in one of the rooms! That's why I love Hancock Park — there's so much history."
Riding high around Hancock Park on his Missoni for Target bike in Gucci pants, Dolce & Gabbana shoes, and a Neil Barrett top.
Who are your biggest style influences throughout life?
"That's easy: My dad, Paul Newman, and Tom Ford."
Describe your personal style in 10 words.
"Sometimes sleek, accessible, sexy, colorful, and all of the above."
Who are some of the current designers you're obsessing over? And, who are some designers from the past that buyers should be collecting now?
"I'm in love with Isabel Marant, Raf Simons at Dior, and Alexander Wang at the moment. For collectors, I recommend buying anything from Tom Ford's era at YSL or Gucci."
Which designer do you think had the most impact on the history of fashion?
"Christian Dior because of the 'New Look.' It changed how women saw themselves and the way they dressed after WWII."
Do you collect anything else other than vintage?
"I love the photographer Erwin Olaf
. His visceral photos have always deeply moved me."
You have quite the bookshelf. Which book character resonates most with you?
"Probably Le Petit Prince."
What's your favorite title, ever?
"Judy Blume's Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret."
How does it feel to be dubbed "The Robin Hood of Fashion"?
"That was totally self-coined! But, truthfully, I do take-slash-consign from the rich and sell to the 99% at fabulously great prices."
The calm before the Bravo storm: Garkinos lounges in a Gucci jacket, LnA top, Alexander McQueen pants, and Louboutin high-tops.
What garment in your personal wardrobe gets the biggest workout, and what's the most treasured item you own?
"I wear my Dior jeans all the time, and the most treasured item I own is the Tom Ford for Gucci suit I wore to my commitment ceremony 11 years ago."
What was it like meeting Tom Ford for the first time?
"He's my fashion idol, and he had been to my store many times, but never while I was working. I gingerly approached him at a party and introduced myself. He took two steps back and said he loved my suit. I couldn't breathe — it was like having an audience with the Pope."
Fabulous footwear wasn't always a part of your wardrobe. Can you tell us about that?
"Basically, I had to go to a corrective shoe store until the age of nine. I had huge, flat feet with narrow ankles. My feet actually got me out of the army! But, I had to wear the ugliest shoes back then. Now, my Louboutin collection is my sweet revenge."
What would you never be caught dead wearing?
Where do you shop for home decor in L.A.?
"I normally go to Palm Springs to hunt for Mid-Century finds."
If you could raid one celebrity's closet, whose would it be? And, who best embodies L.A. style in your mind?
"I would raid Catherine Deneuve's closet, and I think Rosetta Getty has impeccable style and embodies that look perfectly."
Let's talk about the wild wallpaper in your bedroom. What's the connection to our favorite Material Girl?
"We found what we thought was limited-edition wallpaper for our bedroom. Cut to six months later, Madonna is writhing in front of it in the 'Give It 2 Me
' music video. Now, we tell people we found it first!"
Prepping for a night out on the town, Christos poses in his sunlit office in Warby Parker spectacles, a Pucci jacket, Lanvin shirt, Paul Smith cuff links, Dolce & Gabbana shoes, and Prada pants.
Did you always have a passion for vintage clothing?
"My real passion for thrifting started in college at the University of Michigan. I loved wearing cute, polyester tops that fit snugly."
We heard a rumor that you just got a serious influx of Gucci goods. Care to share the story?
"I've just received a $10 million collection of clothes from the number one Gucci men's client in the country. He died super suddenly in his Maserati, and his estate was kind enough to call us."
Tell us about an average day at Decades.
"There is no average day — that's why there's a show! Buying. Selling. Dressing. Undressing. Laughter. Tears."
What do you think was your best "get" at Decades?
"When one of my clients divorced, she brought all of her husband's Tom Ford suits to me to sell. It turns out they were all in my size!"
Tell us about your famous W.I.T. room (pictured above). What's the story there?
"We have a guest house that we let our female friends use when they're in transition. You know — divorces, job issues, or whatever. The nickname is W.I.T., which stands for Women In Transition. Some girls have even stayed there for three years!"
Do you have any memorable dresses you were sad to see leave the shop?
"I'm always sad when a dress I love leaves. And, there are too many to count. But, one I remember very vividly is a long, white Marni dress I sold to a consignor for her wedding. She later got divorced and brought it back. Then, I sold it again to someone else for her wedding."
Can you recall a time when a celeb left wearing one of your dresses and you were overjoyed with the choice?
"That has to be when I dressed Ashley Madekwe
in Oscar de la Renta for her second look at her recent nuptials."
How did you meet your partner, Cameron Silver?
"On a blind date in 1998. Lover-wise, it didn't work out — but, a good friendship ensued."
You guys clearly make a great team. Tell us about working with him, and what's the secret to a successful business partnership?
"We're complete opposites: I like to talk, he likes to email. He likes to spend, I'm super frugal. But, it just works. I think you have to really listen to one another and know that deep down you have each others' backs."
Do you have some handy tips for consigning your own clothes or shopping secondhand?
"Don't allow yourself to get overly attached to all of your clothes — let them go, and give them an afterlife."
Keeping it nonchalant in a Gucci sweater, Dior pants, and Gucci shoes. No big deal!
You helped establish men's store Alpha in 2004. What's your best dude-centric style advice?
"Listen to your lady friends, they're almost always right."
Which decade is your top choice in terms of style?
"I love me some Kate Moss-era '90s."
Where could we find you hanging when you're not at the store?
"Usually, I'm with one of my six godchildren. Or, my hubby and I love Mexico City
in Los Feliz — it was the site of our first date 14 years ago."
How did you build that famous encyclopedic knowledge of every fashion era?
"Practice, baby. Every day is a learning experience."
What's the best piece of business advice you ever received?
"It was from my former boss, Richard Branson: Have fun at what you do or go home."
What advice would you give to young readers who want to enter a similar field?
"Intern, learn, and read. Oh, and get some good anti-anxiety meds, ha!"