The Most Beautiful Things

A peek behind the curtain at Evolution Fashion Studio, Tony Tiemeyer’s high-fashion stash in Northside.

In an industry rife with name-dropping and selfie snapping, vintage fashion dealer Tony Tiemeyer is refreshingly discreet.

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This 1990s Richard Tam feather dress pairs perfectly with no-label jewelry and a pair of vintage 1960s-era gloves.

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.

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“I like mixing edgy with classic,” Tiemeyer explains. “Like these Givenchy leather gloves with Chanel cufflinks and a McQueen jacket. That mixing of beautiful things is sort of what the Evolution brand is about.” Alexander McQueen tuxedo jacket, contemporary; Cartier glasses, circa 1970; Givenchy studded leather gloves, circa 1960; Chanel cufflinks, contemporary.

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.

 


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Says Tiemeyer: “I got these mesh gloves at The Party Source!” Vintage veil, circa 1960; Chanel earrings, circa 1980; Jean Paul Gaultier tuxedo, circa 1990.
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The Toronto-based Design Exchange museum coveted this Issey Miyake coat for an exhibition; Christian Louboutin boots, contemporary.
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Brioni python coat, contemporary; Christian Dior dress, 1960; vintage belt, circa 1970; Givenchy gloves, circa 1960; Christian Louboutin boots, contemporary; Chanel earrings, circa 1980.
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Glamour appears in stark relief when set in Evolution’s freight elevators. Lilli Diamond dress, circa 1970; Fendi shoes, circa 1990.
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Pauline Trigère gold lamé blouse, circa 1970; Ted Lapidus sunglasses, circa 1970; Chanel earrings, circa 1990; Charles Jourdan suede bag, circa 1980; Oscar de la Renta belt, contemporary; Raf Simons for Jil Sander pants.
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(Left) Alexander McQueen silk jacquard dress, fall 2006; Karl Lagerfeld bracelet, circa 1990; Kenneth Jay Lane bracelet, circa 1960; Marvella necklace, circa 1960. (Right) Pauline Trigère gold lamé blouse, circa 1970; Ted Lapidus sunglasses, circa 1970; Chanel earrings, circa 1990; Charles Jourdan suede bag, circa 1980; Oscar de la Renta belt, contemporary; Trussardi shawl; Raf Simons for Jil Sander pants, contemporary; Lambertson Truex boots, contemporary.
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(Left) Oscar de la Renta coat; Pauline Trigère blouse, circa 1970; Donna Karan belt, circa 1980; Marc Jacobs skirt, contemporary; Gucci clutch, circa 1970; Chanel earrings. (Right) James Galanos dress, circa 1970; Bally clutch, circa 1990; Christian Louboutin shoes, contemporary; Chanel earrings; vintage necklace.
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Philip Lam dress, contemporary; Alexander McQueen boots, contemporary; Whiting and Davis clutch, 1970s; Christian Dior earrings, 1980s
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Pauline Trigere coat, 1960s; Givenchy studded gloves; Alaine Mikli sunglasses
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(Left) Boots with suit: Christian Louboutin, contemporary; Alexander McQueen pants, contemporary; (Right) Thierry Mugler jacket, 1980s; Louis Vuitton handbag, contemporary; Oscar de la Renta boots, contemporary



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Originally published in the October 2014 issue

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