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Born in Michigan, Christos Garkinos's earliest dose of fashion inspiration came from watching his father get dressed up, cufflinks and all, when he was just a kid. After graduating from the University of Michigan, Garkinos worked for Clorox, Disney (where one of his first tasks was to dress up as Br'er Bear at Disneyland), and Virgin Megastores before finally meeting Cameron Silver in 1999.
Because of his interest in fashion, Garkinos gave Silver seed money to start Decades Two, the modern take on the popular vintage store. "Girls think that something from three seasons ago is vintage," Garkinos clarifies, "I say it's a nice memory, but it's not vintage yet." The two stores, which were once "very upstairs, downstairs," have since merged, now merchandised by decades of "pre-loved" collectables.
America will get a shot of "fashion porn" when Garkinos and Silver's reality show debuts on Bravo early next year. Though there will be the anticipated drama, Garkinos insists, "No tables were flipped." We met the "Robin Hood of Fashion" at Liquid Juice Bar to talk Tom Ford, Grace Jones and his love/hate relationship with Gouda.
What are you drinking today?
"Mental Miracle...because I need a miracle."
If you had a last minute event and nothing to wear, where would you shop for the look (besides the men's section of Decades, of course)?
"My favorite secret in LA is Traffic Men's at the Beverly Center. I'm The Island of Misfit Toys shopper, I love going to the Barneys 80% off sale and seeing something no one wanted and I'm like, 'Come home with me. I know you only have one working hand but come on.' Traffic has designers like John Richmond, people you can't really find anywhere, so that's my first stop."
Boredom or Madness?
"I'm a Gemini so I prefer boredom actually."
What's your favorite holiday tradition?
"Greek Easter. What started with nine people at my house in 2001 has grown to 65 people in my backyard. It's all-on Greek. Papa Cristo's is this little Greek market on Pico and Normandie and we go there to get our lamb; last year I had a bouzouki player. There's lots of drinking and dancing. And everybody's got kids now!"
What would be the perfect Saturday night?
"Mexico City. The first date [my husband and I] went on 14 years ago was at Mexico City in Los Feliz. We love going there; we have the same thing every time, the Mahi Mahi. Then we'd probably go to Akbar."
Grammys or Oscars?
"Grammys, I'm from a music background. I love the Oscars for my business but I love music so much. And fashion wise, Grammy girls tend to take more risks than Oscar girls, so that's what I like about it."
What's your favorite color?
"Green. My eyes change colors, when I'm in a good mood they go really green."
If you had a genie, what would your three wishes be?
"I think I'd wish that my best clients never had girls so that they wouldn't be able to pass down their clothes. I'd wish to be invited to the Tom Ford sample sale. And that Greece would get out of bankruptcy, because I go there every year."
What's one thing you don't leave home without?
"A picture of my goddaughter, Lilly."
What's your favorite fashion book that you've recently read?
"Decades. It's the newest book that Cameron just launched. It's an amazing book. It's sort of the go-to book for 20th Century fashion. I'm really proud of him and what he did with it. Such a beautiful book."
What song would be playing during your fashion montage?
"Easy. Grace Jones. 'Pull Up to the Bumper.'"
Less is more?
"Absolutely. That's what Decades is built on because we have to be really edited. I come from a Greek family and my mother likes to pile on the jewelry and one day I was home and she had a lot of gold jewelry on and I said, 'Mom, like Coco said, you should look in the mirror and take a few things off before you leave the house.' She was like, 'Who the fuck is Coco?'"
What is your greatest weakness?
"Gouda cheese. I literally circle the cheese bar at Pavilions and say to myself, 'Please be out. Please be out.'"
Words to live by?
"'We'll meet again.' I lost my dad when I was young and my best friend when I was young, so I know that it's important how I treat people because they may not be around. I'm gonna see you again at some point in this whole universe, so it's important that I treat you well and hopefully I get that same treatment back, because we will see each other again."
Catch up on all the Decades drama when their show airs on BRAVO early next year. For the record, Christos' eyes were green during this interview.
· Decades [Official Site]
· Decades: A Century of Fashion [Amazon]
· Glow Bio's Kimberly Snyder Loves LF, Can Do Without Honeydew [Racked]