Style Icon is a series that highlights Angelenos who aren't strictly in the business of fashion, but who have an affinity for style, clothing, retail—or just plain looking good.
Elizabeth Daniels, 5/10
Christos Garkinos is one of the proprietors of Decadestwo, arguably one of the most successful stores of its kind in the world. His job is about fashion, in the loose sense, but it's just as much about cultivating relationships, having a good eye, and being in the right place at the right time. He's part closet therapist, part retail Robin Hood—redistributing sartorial wealth from celebs, socialites and actual royalty down the food chain (and sometimes back up again).
Besides having almost encyclopedic knowledge about both men's and women's fashion, he has tales that make TMZ sound like a bedtime story for five-year-olds.
So what are you wearing today?
A jacket from a label I'm obsessed with, that's sadly out of busines: it's called Cloak. A shirt from H&M, AG Jeans, and my sneakers are YSL.
Describe your personal style in three words:
My father, eclectic, Gross Pointe Prep. Sorry, that's more than three words, but those are my biggest fashion influences.
So when did you first realize you had an affinity for clothing and fashion?
When I was really young, maybe five. My father was my biggest inspiration. He was always well dressed and he looked like Engelbert Humperdinck and I remember ladies used to literally fight over him. And then my sister had this big collection of clothes for her Barbie dolls, and I set them all up in a shop and made a little retail store.
It sounded like the road to Decadestwo started at a very early age. What are a few of the other things you did before?
My first job right out of college was as brand manager for Kingsford Charcoal. I knew I'd be working with people who'd been at the company for years and years; people who were 20 or 30 years older than I was, and I thought, "I really want to make an effort to look conservative." On my first day, I wore a seersucker suit. And I was sent home.
I've also worked for Disney, and I worked for Richard Branson and Virgin: I oversaw the openings of the Virgin Megastores. That job offered a lot of creative freedom?it was the last job I had before Decadestwo.
You obviously have some pretty high profile clients, so discretion is probably a must. But who are some of the more colorful people?
You know the show Hoarders? I have a client like that, but she's hoarding Chanel. She lives in a building on the Upper East Side, she has two apartments: one where she lives, and another filled with her clothes. The collection is 1990s through current. The first time I met with her, I was there for almost nine hours. (Christos later tells us that he knows a woman in Texas, a potential client he's wooing that when each season of Chanel comes out, she simply buys every single piece in it. Whoa.)
I have another consignor whose closet is bigger than my house. I got lost inside it. Then there's Consignor # 2434, a prince from Dubai with incredible taste, and he's my size, exactly. I ended up keeping many of his pieces for myself and they're so different from what I wear normally. Wild Versace shirts, Dolce & Gabbana swim trunks. I take them when I go on vacation?
And it's like you get to be a completely different person, wear them like costumes.
Right. And occasionally, I just leave a few things in the room.
What happens in Mykonos stays in Mykonos.
Exactly. I know I'd probably never wear them again; maybe someone else will. It's taking recycling to another level.
Where in LA do you like to shop?
The list for clothing is pretty eclectic: YSL, American Rag?back in the day, I found some amazing pieces at the big Jet Rag $1 sale. H&M. Can I say Alpha (Gear for Gents) my other store? We stock a lot of great, fun gifts. For grooming, haircuts and things, it's Shorty's on Fairfax. I go to a guy named Jessie—ladies, he's one of the hottest straight guys and he's really good. I like Soolip for paper. I also like HauteLook. You can buy Omaha Steaks there!
When it comes to local shopping, I really do like to support smaller, more homegrown stores.
What are some of your biggest fashion pet peeves? On both men and women.
It bothers me when women look cheap.
Yes. I was just at a restaurant/club [whose name we're redacting because it's not entirely their fault they get hoochies-ed.] and it was full of women, girls, really, wearing tiny baby-doll dresses and platforms from PayLess shoes.
When low-rise jeans were really in and you'd see women of all different ages and sizes, with their thongs hanging out?I was like everybody's dad. I just wanted to run around and cover them up.
And on men, it's skinny jeans. Sorry, guys, but unless you're built like one of the Jonas brothers or Russell Brand, skinny jeans just don't work.
Who do you think are the five most stylish people, at least at this moment?
Believe it or not, Russell Brand. He has an unmistakable look, like no one else right now. Especially in a suit. Tom Ford, naturally. Cameron Silver. And Daniel Craig. He recently came into the store (in New York), and for a minute, everything just stopped and everyone held their breath?and then everything went back to normal. He's a real person; he shops, too.
What about women?
I can think of a few women with style that is timeless. Winona Ryder. Selma Blair. Diana Ross. And Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon
What's your dream score; whose closets do you want to raid?
One of my clients in Houston—consignor #815—had a party with 90 of her best friends. Including a friend with a $10 million dollar closet. I'm working on that one. And Catherine Deneuve and Debbie Harry would both be dreams come true.
Do you have a piece of shopping wisdom or sage advice to impart to our readers?
Don't buy for that imaginary trip. Stop spending money for things that you see and you think, "That's perfect for a trip to New York." By the time the trip rolls around—if it ever does—you'll want something else.
· Decadestwo [Official Site]
· All Style Icon coverage [Racked LA]