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Over the course of a few episodes of Bravo's reality TV program Dukes of Melrose, a classic dynamic has emerged between the show's two lead characters, Cameron (the vintage guy) and Christos (the consignment guy). Cameron trades in high-end, high-expense gowns and therefore has developed an immunity to sticker shock. Christos' business, meanwhile, is less based on one big sale and more on volume, therefore serious outlays of cash frighten him. Christos is an overprotective mother, Cameron is an unruly teenager at the mall with her mom's credit card. You get it.
At the beginning of last night's episode, C&C step into their roles. Cameron is headed to New York City for the Manhattan Vintage Show, and Christos is worried about how much he will spend there. But before he can take off, it's time to address a character who will be a plot point of next week's show: adorable, tattooed Decades staffer Billy, somewhat of a whiz at pricing consignment. He's called in to help eyeball the value of some wacko vintage Mugler, but then butts heads a bit with Cameron, who thinks that although Billy is good at judging the worth of contemporary pieces, he has a bit to learn about the vintage business. "Billy, like most people of his generation, thinks they know everything. It's nice to have that confidence but it's also great to be a sponge," says Cameron. It's clear that Billy doesn't feel appreciated, and in the preview from next week's episode we actually see him break down in tears in a Decades back room.
Cameron gets down to business
Back to the present: Cameron swans down a store staircase in a very bold color scheme: pink socks, blue pants, eggplant jacket (with matching shoes), yellow button-down, red sunglasses. He decides to bring a squire, model-perfect Decades staffer Marcus, along to New York to help him with the buy. Cameron and Christos quibble a bit about whether or not Cameron should fly business class. Christos jokes, "I don't fly economy. I spend $60 more to get five more inches. That's what she said." Christos gives him a budget of $5,000 for the show; meanwhile, Cameron reveals that he has spent up to $80,000 on buying trips. "Christos wants to feel important and powerful. If it means establishing a budget of $5,000 that I may or may not adhere to, so be it," he says.
Christos, meanwhile, has an appointment to plunder Monet Mazur's closet. But before he leaves, he spends some quality time worrying about what Cameron (or "Cami," as he calls him) is up to in NYC. "Cameron not answering [the phone] means one or two things. One, he's ignoring me and spending everything that we have. Two, he's in a dressing room trying on clothes for himself." Bingo! It's both, actually.
Striking gold in Monet's closet
By now, Christos has made his way to Monet's house, where he's digging through her supply of Balenciaga, Tucker and Tuleh. She wants to consign enough to buy a new Chanel bag. He wants to get a look at the shoes: "Always look at the bottom shelves of girls' closets, because that's where the shoes they aren't wearing [reside]." He leaves with a pair of Louboutin stilettos and thigh-high boots, having "definitely scored."
A vintage dress, the "money shot" of the trip
Cameron and Marcus are having a lot of fun at the vintage show. Marcus is forced to don a women's sleeveless Lanvin coat (nice arms, btw) while Cameron is attracted to a piece of outerwear that looks like it was shorn off a Muppet. They also find some pretty gowns and a rare jumpsuit. The final tally: $6,000, or way over Christos' budget.
Cameron returns to the shop in his acquisition, a pastel green hooded fur sweatshirt. "You look like some sort of Jetsons figure," says Christos. "It was chilly there," says Cameron. He then reveals that he kind of sort of went over the budget by a grand. The joke's on him, though. Christos, the chess master, anticipated he'd blow right by any set figure and had quoted him less than the true budget before he left.
Next week, Cameron curates a museum exhibit, Cameron and Christos engage in a bit of high-spirited bikering and Billy gets upset about some sort of slight.
· Dukes of Melrose [Official Site]
· Dukes of Melrose: Wedding Bells and Biba Mania [Racked]
· Dukes of Melrose: Good (and Hot) Help is Hard to Find [Racked]