In an industry rife with name-dropping and selfie snapping, vintage fashion dealer Tony Tiemeyer is refreshingly discreet.
So discreet, in fact, that he won’t share the names of famous clients who have visited Evolution Fashion Studio, his luxe showroom in—of all places—an old Northside factory. That’s because the items he’s consigning are once-in-a-lifetime pieces, priced anywhere from $200 to $2,000. He gathers them from a network of clients who trust his connections and eye for good design, and they come freighted with a unique history (for the people selling them) and a personal fascination (for those who end up buying them). This respect for the client as well as the fashion comes easy to Tiemeyer because, very simply, he loves the work.
The most surprising thing about Evolution is that much of the extraordinary inventory, from classic Chanel to theatrical McQueen, comes straight from Cincinnati closets. “People are brainwashed to think Oh, Cincinnati’s so conservative,” Tiemeyer says. “But honestly, people travel, they have stuff. I go into their closets and I die.” Evolution is a place for those people to safely part with that Dior dress they bought in Paris, or the Issey Miyake jacket from Japan (see page 92) that is coveted by international museums. “They don’t know where to go with that stuff,” Tiemeyer says. “If you have really beautiful vintage designer things, I think I’m the best consignment store in the city.”
Tiemeyer has been dealing in vintage fashion since the 1980s, when he opened The Looking Glass in Clifton. Since then, by way of a stint in New York, he’s graduated to consigning designer collections, even lending his garments to film costumers, museum exhibits, music videos, and Vogue. This broad recognition comes from his placement on 1stdibs.com, the venerated online clearinghouse for antique and designer goods. “The marketing is global,” Tiemeyer explains. “So when I put something out there, I get an e-mail from Dubai. And then three people want it and it ends up going to Singapore.”
And therein lies the contradiction inherent to Evolution: Cincinnati is the source for much of the vintage fashion at the heart of the whole project, but this market can’t support a brick-and-mortar shop. So Tiemeyer will continue to hang his shingle digitally (evolutionfashionstudio.com) and send our style out into the world.