Art of Fashion: Cameron Silver in Little Rock

I had the pleasure of attending Cameron Silver’s book tour,  Art of Fashion Lecture Series “Decades: A Century of Fashion at the Arkansas Arts Center. Cameron Silver is the fashion director of H by Halston and H Halston brands. Designer Halston is iconic and synonymous with American haute couture. I figured Cameron Silver’s presence in Little Rock would bring out all the young fashionistas. I walked in the Arkansas Arts Center prepared to network with peers my age. I was mistaken. The ladies I encountered at the lecture were a mature funky, jazzy, artistic sort. No wonder tickets were sold out in advance! The fashionable baby boomers beat the millennials to the ticket booth. I was one of couple millennials in attendance. As we waited for the lecture to begin, these stylish ladies mingled over mimosas and talked endlessly about fashion. Two women caught my eye. They were serving me Lisa Bonet, boho-chic, and I loved it! They had Afrocentric prints with beautiful earth toned colors.

The Art of Fashion – The Lecture

Having a fashion legend like Cameron Silver come to Little Rock was a gift for fashionistas and future designers. Mr. Silver has worked with some of the most prestigious people in the fashion industry like Andre Leon Talley and model Beverly Johnson. He always makes an appearance for New York Fashion Week, sitting in the front row of course. His book, Decades: A Century of Fashion, discusses fashion from the early 1900s to present day.

At the lecture, Mr. Silver discussed the evolution of style, pointing out that from the early 1900s to the late 1960s, we start to see a mixture of designers and brands being worn. In the early 1900s one brand or designer was worn head to toe like classic designers: Paul Poiret and Madame Grès. Paul Poiret, a designer from the 1920s, dominated the fashion industry by bringing liberation to women’s fashion. Poiret freed women’s silhouettes by eliminating suffocating corsets. Mr. Silver explained how Madame Grès entrancingly used pattern pleats in her elegant gowns, which later re-emerged in fashion during the 1970s. The 1970s is his most favored era and the most influential era for designer Halston.

Mr. Silver stated that modern designers are inspired by those of the past and find art in everyday life, like Patrick Kelly  and Dolce & Gabbana. Dolce & Gabbana stunned at their D&G Loves New York Fashion Show. Their gowns captured designs of many eras and were inspired by their admiration for New York City. The major takeaway from the lecture was that fashion does not differ much. It expands, modernizes and sometimes it remains a classic.

At the end of the lecture, there was a Q&A section. Below are a couple of questions helpful for those seeking a career in fashion.  There was a pop-up shop to purchase Mr. Silver’s book and fashion like that in his Los Angeles boutique, Decades. For more information about Mr. Silver and his career, check out his website here.

What is the role of a Fashion Director?

It is the Fashion Director’s job to have to vision, know your history, and terminology. Being a seamstress is not necessary to be in the fashion industry.  As the fashion director, we express our vision to the seamstress. It is their job to bring our vision to life. You can see this in Paul Poiret’s designs that freed women from the corset. The job of the fashion director is to have the vision. That’s one of the great things about this job.

What advice do you have for anybody wanting to pursue a career in fashion?

Kindness and humility goes a long way. No one wants to work with someone rude and arrogant. Know your history. When I work with students, I am more willing to work with the student that knows about fashion and art history. Someone who can express their vision.

Rachel J. Jones
Editorial Intern/Contributing Writer
Rachel is an English/Journalism major at the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff. She previously worked as a creative arts intern at After-school Matters producing a short play.