Cameron Silver, owner of Decades and co-owner of Decadestwo in Los Angeles, may hobnob with some of the chicest people in Tinseltown, but he's not afraid to get down and dirty. On this particular blustery morning, he's inside an unassuming suburban Long Island home. On his knees, custom Hermès sleeves rolled up, he's sealing shut one dusty box after the next with strips of packing tape. There is, of course, a glamorous motivation for this gritty scene: vintage Yves Saint Laurent—and lots of it.
The owner of the house recently passed away, leaving her extensive collection behind to her daughter, who figured the Hollywood set could make better use of the some 300 pieces than she herself ever could. Enter Silver, who currently has cocktail dresses on the brain, what with awards season right around the corner. "I sell more and more vintage for these occasions every year," he notes. Alas, the late YSL fan was a buttoned-up lady, more partial to house's black wool cropped jackets and silk tie-neck shirts. "These Eighties blouses are very salable," says Silver, promptly dumping 27 of them—printed, solid and otherwise—into one of the boxes. "I'll sell them for about $120 each, and probably send a lot of them to our Dover Street store in London." (He refused to let us in on how much he will pay for the loot.)
Silver also snatches up 12 day frocks—"very Chloë Sevigny"—as well as a bundle of gold-flecked belts, a dramatic wool cape and, sadly, just one cocktail number: a sexy floral-printed dress, circa late Seventies, trimmed in black lace. "Do that with a stacked heel and a seamed stocking and you're done," he says. (Silver checked in later from Los Angeles to report that "Demi and Penelopeâ¿¿ were the first to preview the collection "straight outta' the box.") As for his favorite item from the stash, he wraps a black-and-white silk polka-dot scarf around his neck. "I'm keeping this for myself," he quips. "How chic will it be with a tux?"