From humble beginnings living in a small wooden structured home in northern Russia, Tatyana Khomyakova grew up in a single home with her mother by her side. The home that stood over the local town library was minimal but lovely, and with the daily ritual of gathering water from the town well Tatyana and her mother would heat water over small fires for cleaning and washing. Despite the hardships and despite the chores Tatyana had a happy childhood nonetheless, and without so many of the material possessions that we all may seem to take for granted today. Developing her sense of creativity from a young age it was easy for Tatyana to feel the beauty surrounding her and yearned to learn more.
Tatyana valued the thirst for knowledge, education and beauty - something instilled in her by her mother so went to majored in Theater and Costume Design at The University of Culture in St. Petersburg, Russia. After her graduation Tatyana's natural beauty and talent gained her roles in high fashion modeling for both the Russian and European designer markets. After the saddened death of her mother during her University studies, this experience together with her knowledge of the fashion industry set Tatyana on another path - her own.
It was in the mid 1990's when Tatyana met future husband Jan Glaser and together they built a life in Nevada, USA. The first of Tatyana's stores opened it's doors in Las Vegas in 2006 under her first label Bettie Page Clothing, this was after being licensed the rights to use the Bettie Page name and image from Indianapolis celebrity-licensing company CMG Worldwide. In 2014 a was request was made by Tatyana Designs that payment of royalties (4% of sales) be placed on temporary hold to CMG Worldwide. CMG immediately stripped the Russian born beauty of licensing rights, requested a temporary restraining order and also filed an arbitration action against Tatyana Designs.
It's now that the ever growing and popular retro clothing designer chain name changed to 'Tatyana' in honor of the charm and creativity of it's designer, and we couldn't be more happier for them.
Pearl Davies chats to Tatyana Khomyakova and her Nashville store Manager Jase on the ever expanding Tatyana range, it's American stores and a peek into a possible Australian visit.
From polkadots to swirls, cotton blends to wool, Tatyana has a variety of fashion sense to suit any body (and anybody). What would be some of the most favorite design elements with the Tatyana range?
The design elements do include various patterns like polka dots and swirls; but the design, the structure and silhouette are paramount. The most important part of style is the way a dress makes a woman look, and that has to do with the type of silhouette that is established. My goal has always been to focus on the waist and develop as much of (an) hourglass shape as possible.
Tatyana had a fabulous line of reproduction pieces that depicted the wonderful talents of pinup artist Gil Elvgren. We loved this and loved receiving the styles with the Elvgren paintings on the clothing's tags so it connected us even more so to the style and the artist. Do you think these designs will make a comeback and will their be any new designs coming from the Elvgren collection?
It's possible! Elvgren was the most notable of the "pin up" artists. His playful images were the best and the styles of the dresses he depicted were wonderful. The line had great success and we may re-introduce it again.
With the legal issues concerning Bettie Page representative CMG Worldwide, how has this affected your thinking around partnerships and collaborations with others and do you feel that in the future the two parties can reconvene?
It was an expensive lesson (for both sides), but I learned that licensing companies like CMG have a different set of priorities than a designer. Their main concern is maximizing the brand name, while to us the purpose of our business is to present cool styles for our clients, and the brand is secondary. It doesn’t matter to the licencor whether they get their royalties on tee shirts, mouse pads or coffee mugs. To me, what matters is making wonderful dresses and having our clients look (and feel!) amazing.
After requesting a statement from CMG Worldwide on the possibilities of a reconciliation between the two parties it's Chairman and CEO Mark Roesler had comments that are unprofessional and unfit for print. CMG Worldwide is quoted from it's website stating that their success is "greatly attributed to our continued achievements in legal protection and aggressive marketing"?.
Tatyana began paying royalties to CMG Worldwide for the use of the Bettie Page name and images in 2006. Bettie Page is an iconic figure, a native from Tennessee USA who made her name in the pinup girl movement from the 1950's with the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Jane Mansfield. While she only modeled for seven years the Bettie Page name still continues to grow as one of the worlds most loved and most popular pinup girl icons. Page was one of the first of many women to pose in an up and coming mens magazine in the 1950's: Playboy. Before Madonna, she wore daring cone shaped bras to tweek the conservative mindset of the era, and it worked.
As much as Page was known for the sweetness of the girl next door as well as her sensual imagery, Page was also quite the academic. She had a dream of becoming valedictorian as she wanted the four year scholarship to Vanderbilt University that came with it. Alas, she was overcome by just a quarter of a point in becoming valedictorian, having settled for salutatorian. Page then went on to attend Peabody College in Nashville, TN and worked as a secretary for an historical novelist during this time when her modelling carer soared. After only 7 years in the modelling spotlight, gracing covers of magazines and even dabbling in film Page retired from her modeling career in the late 50's but her legacy lived on. Decades on the images of Bettie Page have gained new audiences and her audiences have gained her admirable jet black bangs, not to mention her cutsie pinup girl poses found in just about all of today's current pinup model and photographer portfolios. With a medley of naughty and nice her legacy still plays a lead role in the retro revival of today that could never be stripped away.
The Bettie Page estate however, is still booming making Forbes' top ten list of 'Top-Earning Dead Celebrities' coming in at #9 place with $9 Million in earnings. She comes behind Albert Einstein in 8th place, John Lennon ranked #7, Marilyn Monroe in at #6, Elvis Presley at #2 and standing at #1 is Michael Jackson.
You have had a lot of well known celebrities wear your collection over the years including Katy Perry, P!nk, Coco, Penelope Cruz and Holly Madison. Playboy Playmate of the Year (2011) Claire Sinclair was one of your spokes models and even super model Sabina Kelley. How important is it to you having well known names showing off your fabulous brand and who else would you love to see wearing the Tatyana style?
It's flattering when celebrities choose to wear Tatyana and it spreads the word in ways we could not otherwise accomplish. That said, the real gratification comes from those who tell me their life changed and their femininity affirmed by wearing Tatyana dresses.
Along with the support of husband Jan, starting off as Bettie Page Clothing Tatyana has come a long way in making a reputable name for herself and her brand. From fetching buckets of water from the local village well in Russia to having her name in lights (literally) and having her designs showcased on some of the worlds most prestigious runways. After reflection on all the history since arriving in the United States, what's next for Tatyana?
Fashion is a never ending journey. I have many more ideas for what I want to design than time to do it in! Tatyana will be presenting more styles to make women around the world beautiful and intriguing!
Jase is the new Nashville Tatyana Manager and as a new member of #TeamTaty what do you love about the Nashville store, it's staff and its clients?
I love the energy that comes from being downtown on Broadway. People who make their way to the area are here to have a good time and that flows into our store. People love to come in and "play dress up" with our Pin-Ups which often leads to a new love for our style of clothing. The staff here is in a building period but we are meshing well and I see big things in our future.
The Nashville Ink 'n' Iron Festival was the first of its kind in Nashville that Tatyana took part in. What was the experience like working with an organisation like this, will you be back for next years and if so, what would you change?
I am not sure if we will attend another year of the festival. It was not a huge success for us, personally. I think if we were to do it again it would be more as a networking deal and not as a retail booth. As for the festival, I think maybe a more inclusive locale and lower ticket prices could help. Nashville is a festival heavy city and they were competing with one of the most popular that weekend. So a calendar change would definitely be needed.
It was such a pleasure in teaming up both Miss Nashville Boogie 2015 (USA) together with Australian model Miss Lola Bess for a Tatyana fashion shoot. Here's what they had to say about Tatyana Boutique:
"I absolutely love Tatyana Boutique! I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the Nashville store on a number of occasions and each time I am overwhelmed by the beautiful clothing and shoes; there are always so many colours and styles to choose from! The staff are always so friendly and happy to help."
- Spokesmodel Miss Lola Bess (AUS)
"Tatyana Boutique offers so many pieces that can be dressed up or down, and so many of them are perfect for work and play. That's something I find really important when I'm spending money on good quality pieces. It's always so much fun to pop into the Tatyana Boutique on Broadway (Nashville). It has such a unique atmosphere, and the staff are so kind. It's also nice to see all of the pretty pieces in person."
- Spokesmodel Miss Britty Leigh, Miss Nashville Boogie 2015 (USA)