Tim Potee, shown in his vintage clothing store, Dreamland,… (Algerina Perna, Baltimore…)
Services for Tim Potee, the Hampden vintage clothing store owner who supplied items for several of filmmaker John Waters' movies, will be held at noon Monday at the Burgee-Henss-Seitz Funeral Home, 3631 Falls Road.
Mr. Potee was found dead Monday of pneumonia at his Hampden apartment above his Dreamland Vintage Clothing store. He was 52.
Mr. Waters said that the clothier "will be missed by the film community. He will be missed by the fashion community. He will be missed by the Hampden community."
He recalled Mr. Potee, who supplied clothing for his "Hairspray" and "Polyester" films, as "having really good taste and really bad taste, too."
Born in Baltimore and raised in Pasadena and Brooklyn Park, Mr. Potee was a member of a family with strong ties to those communities. His great-grandfather was John Edgar Potee, a Democratic political leader who served as sheriff of both Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County. Potee Street in South Baltimore is named for this ancestor.
Mr. Potee graduated from Northeast High School in 1976 and worked initially as a hairstylist at the Cut Above in Mount Vernon.
In a Baltimore Sun article published 20 years ago, he recalled his youth. "The thing about the 1970s was that you could never go too far," he said. "My own teen concert-going outfit was a rainbow knit stretchy shirt, Landlubber big-bell jeans, and a woman's black, slashed black blazer which I studded myself. I wore platforms in burgundy suede trimmed in alligator."
Nearly 30 years ago, he opened Dreamland on Read Street near Park Avenue. The name of his shop was also used by Mr. Waters for his productions.
"I would have been annoyed if I didn't like him so much," said Mr. Waters, who added that New York antique clothes dealers often called on Mr. Potee to fill their stores. Mr. Waters recently shopped at his Hampden store for white cotton shirts.
After doing business on Read Street, Mr. Potee moved to larger quarters on Charles Street, where he expanded his customer base
"He had a massive inventory and he adored textiles," said Elissa Strati of Avenue Antiques in Hampden. "He also hated the paperwork of doing business. He was a creative, artistic person who loved dressing people in outfits that would make them look spectacular."
In a 2001 Sun article, Mr. Potee described the competitiveness over "a constantly dwindling supply" of vintage fashion items. He said he traded in bulk with a European dealer, and he went on a regular basis to warehouses around this country and in Canada, where old clothes are sold by the bale.
His brother, John E. Potee of Pasadena, recalled that his brother often sold used clothing to overseas markets. He said that Japanese buyers wanted classic 1960s and 1970s Levis.
"He told me, 'I'm getting outrageous prices for Levis that had never been worn,' " said the brother.
Friends said that that Mr. Potee sold vintage fashion from many decades and often kept pre- World War II items, including furs and hats, in his store. But it was the disco-era 1970s that often provided him with a ready market.
"Beautiful periods of fashion always take a turn for the ugly, and that's what some of the avant-garde art crowd now wants," he told The Sun. "We have 300 bell-bottom pants — plaids, stripes, jeans, elephant bells — most of them in the very 'finest' polyester. And our tie selection is very good too — intense colors and a big 4 to 5 inches wide."
In the 1990s, when the retro 1970s look was making a revival, he said that new, cutting-edge platform-heel shoes from top designers could cost in the four figures. He said his store's vintage shoes cost $20 to $100, with labels such as I. Miller and Jumping Jack Flash, the preferred footwear of '70s rockers.
He said his idea of a current vintage glam glitter look would be a stretch silver-lame top, black-and-blue elephant bells riding low on the hip and a wide belt, preferably made of shiny plastic.
"Until a few years ago, I sold '70s clothes as costume; now they sell as fashion," he said.
Radio host Lisa Simeone, a customer for many years, said she "always found him a sweet, charming, gentle guy, and I loved talking vintage fashion with him whenever I went into his shop."
Another customer and friend, attorney Linda Dee, said, "He had the eye for fashion. And he was one of Baltimore's eccentrics. He was fun, kind, sweet and a little crazy, too."
In addition to his brother, survivors include his sister, Pat Johnson of Berlin in Worcester County; his mother, Corinne Potee of Pasadena; four nieces and nephews; and three great-nieces and great-nephews.