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If last week's Dukes of Melrose plot line hinged on the Oscars, this week's primarily concerns staffing—specifically, hiring a manager. Can Cameron and Christos make HR work dramatic? They try their best, throwing a lithe French fashion muse, a shopping-happy socialite and a designer shoe sample sale into the mix.
The conflict is set up in the intro. Both Christos and Cameron are working too much. Cameron "hasn't taken a day off in 15 years," though as Christos reminds him, he relaxed after the Oscars. "I was still tweeting" he replies. Turns out they used to have a manager who has since retired and, per Cameron, is "performing right now on a cruise ship. In drag."
Christos has taken over managerial duties, and when important client Sigrid de l'Epine strolls in (she's a former muse/"communications person" at Balenciaga), he's ready for her. She always wants Chanel. Today, though, she throws him a curveball by requesting Alexander McQueen. Christos scurries around the shop trying to track down a few pieces, but runs out of time and Sigrid leaves for another appointment. Had they had a manager, he sighs, that wouldn't have happened.
To make matters worse, the bi-annual Decades shoe sale is coming up and the store team is short-staffed. Cameron has a candidate, though. He's a sexy foreign man named Martin who is "right on brand"—code for really, really attractive with an accent. Martin's not just a pretty face, though, he's also got a "pedigree in luxury fashion" having worked at Armani, Donna Karan and then Gucci and understands vintage couture. The only problem is that the guy believes in a proper work-life balance and doesn't want to be responsible for answering calls and emails after hours. Cameron, "I don't know if he wants to sell his soul as much as we really need." Next!
Cut to prep for the shoe sale. Decades gets around 5,000 pairs of shoes a year and the ones that don't sell are held for the event and priced at $150 a pop. Christos is working with store staff to organize the selection by size and to make sure that each pair is worthy of the sale. He asks Cameron to help but, "Ms. Silver does not like to get her hands dirty."
He's right, Cameron would rather try to sell $15,000 dresses to his high-end clients. In walks Amber Sakai, former model and current socialite (what goes unmentioned is that she's also a designer). She's going to a dinner for the Palace of Versailles Foundation hosted by His Royal Highness Prince Edward of Wessex. So just another day dining with Buckingham Palace-born royalty. An aside: Part of what makes this show interesting is that it's a glimpse into how the other half shops; she spends $10,000 to $20,000 a year at Decades.
Christos feels like the shoe sale is an important event for younger Decades clients who will eventually grow up to buy the thousand dollar dresses Cameron salivates over, while Cameron kind of snobbily discredits the whole endeavor. This difference is why they're so good for each other, and why they're constantly at each others' throats.
Cameron, and his look.
It's the morning of the shoe sale, and Christos is nervously briefing the small group of staff he has to run the event. The lineup includes Marcus, Decades' "New York liaison" or, more likely, a handsomely-cast extra. There's a massive line of women waiting outside. In walks Cameron, late and dressed like a ringmaster at the fashion circus. He's wearing a red suit, red socks, a one-of-a-kind black hat and bonkers Christian Louboutin oxfords.
The sale, predictably, is a bit chaotic. While Christos works to sell heels to indecisive women, Cameron cracks jokes including one about sanitizing the shoes because of fungal infections. He's unhappy about the whole endeavor and is just behaving badly. But in the end, the event's a success, making its goal of $50,000 in half a day. Not bad.
Back to the manager search. Christos has gotten a few responses from an online ad, but Cameron does not think that the web is the way to go. "I don't want to hire a manager through Craigslist. That's how you get a massage?with a happy ending," he quips.
The episode ends with neither party happy. Next week's preview teases at a potential hire who, while perhaps not fitting the "brand" as well as Cameron would like, has plenty of experience on Rodeo and is happy to work during his off hours. Will he work out or won't he? Who cares, we're tuning in just to watch C&C bicker.
· Dukes of Melrose [Bravo]
· Dukes of Melrose: Red Carpet Dreams, Oscar Nightmares [Racked]
· Dukes of Melrose: Robin Hood, Couture and Budget-Busting [Racked]