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Do you love retro style? Well look no further than Bettie Page clothing!  Designed with the 1950’s Bettie Page in mind, Tatyana Khomyakova and Jan Glaser have brought that to life. Here’s an interview with both of them to discuss their opinion on style.

Models wearing Bettie Page designs. Tatyana second from left. © Erik Kabik/ Retna / ErikKabik.com

1.       How would you describe Bettie Page style?

Retro inspired with a modern twist.  All of the designs are motivated by the golden age of women’s fashions – the late 1940s and 1059s.

2.       Who are your top 3 favorite designers?

I love Betsy Johnson, Channel and Louis Vuitton.

3.       What article of clothing in your closet makes you feel on top of the world?

The Captain Dress.  And I’m not alone – we’ve sold over 10,000!

4.       If I were to enter your closet right now, what would I be surprised to see?

I accidentally purchased the same pair of shoes twice.  So I suppose it would be surprising to notice that!

5.       How does Russian style compare to LA style?

Russian style is really European Style.  While Europe used to be outrageous and flamboyant, now it seems to be harkening back to the classic designs celebrating femininity.  LA not so much…

6.       Jan Glaser – what sealed the deal for you to work with Tatyana to bring Bettie Page clothing to life?

I’m married to the designer…

Tatyana in a Bettie Page design. © Erik Kabik/ Retna / ErikKabik.com

7.       How much influence does the way you dress have on your personal brand?

I dress differently for different occasions.  When I work, I usually wear jeans and a t shirt or turtleneck.  I like to dress for comfort.  When I’m out and about, I like to dress up.

8.       Do you follow trends or make your own?

I never follow trends.  I know what I like – somehow – and do my best to capture that ideal in a garment.

9.       In your opinion, what is the future of fashion?

That is a great unknown.  I do know that fashion follows society – or sometimes leads society.  So if one knew where social mores and practices were headed, one would also have a sense of where fashion is moving.

10.   What would you never be caught wearing as long as you live?

One of my competitors dresses.  Even after I’m gone…

11.   What fashion advice would you share with the world?

Wear what makes you happy.  Don’t pay attention to trends…

12.   Is the 1950’s fashion the new black?

Not yet.  But from the perspective of my worldview, more and more people are coming to realize the 1950s were the golden age of designers for a reason…

13.   What makes the Bettie Paige Clothing store unique from all others?

Our heart and soul.  We love what we do.

Bettie Page Clothing Models with designer Tatyan and Claire Sinclair pictured at Bettie Page Clothing Fashion show © Erik Kabik/ Retna / ErikKabik.com

About Bettie Paige Clothing

Famous in the 1950s for her fetish modeling and pin-up photos, the iconic “Queen of Pinups”— one of Playboy Magazine’s first “Playmates of the Month” Bettie Page continues to captivate millions of men and women around the world with her youthful, sexy image and signature jet black hair, blue eyes and short-cut bangs. That’s where Bettie Page Clothing comes in.

Launched by commercial financer Jan Glaser and brilliant Russian-born fashion designer Tatyana Khomyakova, Bettie Page Clothing boutiques have given those who live in or near Las Vegas, Hollywood, San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury and San Diego’s Gaslamp District the advantage to re-create her look.

Celebrities have flocked to wear Tatyana’s styles the world over.  Just a sampling of the notables include Miranda Lambert, Kellie Pickler, Pink, Holly Madison, Tempest Storm, Denise Richards, Amy Jones and Jenny Tiffen (“Fashions on the Field”Canberra Races), “So You Think You Can Dance” Top 4 finalist Lauren, and Leighton Meester (“Gossip Girls”).

Tying perfectly into America’s obsession with all things ‘retro through events like the annual Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender and television smash hit “Mad Men,” Tatyana has inspired millions of women to emulate her iconic style.

Upon Page’s passing, MTV acknowledged that without her generation-hopping influence, a slew of contemporary icons would have different looks. Katy Perry would not sport those rocker bangs and retro jumpers; Madonna’s “Sex” book and fascination with bondage gear might not exist; and Rihanna could be obsessed with other things besides leather and lace. Page is also a huge part of Uma Thurman’s style in “Pulp Fiction,” burlesque actress Dita Von Teese’s entire career and the look and vibe of The Pussycat Dolls.

Opening their first store in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood on the Strip in Vegas in 2007, Jan and Tatyana have tapped into this widespread divine madness and created a phenomenon that seems boundless. Beyond the current locations, including the Fashion Show Mall in Vegas, Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco and the Gaslamp store in San Diego (which recently opened in October 2010), there are future plans to expand in some of America’s premier tourist destinations including Newbury Street in Boston, Manhattan, the Twin CitiesMall of America and in Miami’s South Beach.

The first store opened with 20 distinctive women’s dress styles designed by Tatyana. The stores now carry more than 200 of them. Bettie Page Clothing also sells T-shirts and lingerie designed by famed cheesecake/erotic/pinup artist Olivia De Berardinis, whose work has graced the pages of Playboy for years. Her “fantasy” Bettie Page art aided in the resurgence of interest in Page’s life and career in the late 1980s and 1990s. The stores also sell originals and first editions of classic Bettie paintings by Olivia.

Beyond the U.S. retail locations, the Bettie Page Clothing brand has gone global, with boutiques in 57 countries around the world selling its products. According to Glaser, the line is exceptionally popular in Australia, Europe and Canada. This universal acclaim for Tatyana’s retro fashions is all the more incredible when the businessman reveals the fascinating truth that when the couple first conceived the idea of launching a boutique in Las Vegas, their goal was simply to have an outlet for Tatyana’s classic styled clothes. The licensing for Bettie Page’s likeness and name came later when they hit a roadblock trying to lease a location in the Miracle Mile Shops.

“We didn’t even think of her designs as specifically retro, we just loved them,” says Glaser. “We were simply seeking a way to brand her products. It was a large investment and we knew we were taking a great leap of faith. We didn’t have the Bettie Page name until long after we decided on the concept, which was vintage, classic style dresses. But mall ownership wouldn’t lease to a store that was stand-alone and brand new. They agreed to lease to us, however, if we could come up with a recognizable brand name. Bettie Page Clothing now has exclusive rights to using the name for fashion worldwide.”

Glaser adds, “What’s ironic is that, as our business took off, we realized that only 20 percent of our customers were from the rockabilly community. The other 80 simply like Tatyana’s styles, which truly sell themselves. They fit beautifully, are moderately priced at an average of $120, and are very unique.”

Tatyana grew up in a small village in Russia and studied art, dance, fashion and music at the University of Culture in St. Petersburg before pursuing a career as a fashion model. While posing in fashions by mostly Russian designers, she also worked at the Grand Hotel Europe in St. Petersburg, where she first met Glaser and shortly after moved to the U.S. Growing up in Russia, she saw many American movies from the 1950s, loved the styles and wondered why women in the modern age no longer dressed that way. She first learned about Bettie Page when she arrived in the States and realized that people associated her with the luxury of the ‘50s lifestyle.

“When I began my career as a designer in the U.S., my goal was to create fashions that would appeal to those who loved the styles from that era,” Tatyana says. “It was important for women to be sexy but at the same time not have too much exposed. I tapped into the idea that women wanted to have mystery again. My designs are mature and feminine but leave a little to the imagination, and men appreciate the puzzle. The answer to what inspires me is simple: movies.”

“When we were hiring for our first stores,” Glaser recalls, “we would ask our prospective associates what they liked about Bettie. They all said the same thing– the fact that she disappeared for a long time even though she was still alive. She was a dark, rebellious version of Marilyn Monroe. Not just a fluffy, frilly model from another era but a disturbed person with real problems and a tragic history. People identified with that. Bettie’s famous expression was that she was “never the girl next door,” and I think people latched onto the female James Dean mythology. There’s danger, edge and rebelliousness – all of which is now reflected in Tatyana’s striking, era capturing dresses.”

Realizing the popular appeal of her Bettie Page dresses, Tatyana is now expanding her portfolio to include a distinctive “Elvgren” line – based on the images of the classic pin-up artist of the 1950’s, as well as her special “Tatyana” collection making their way into stores. Finally, Tatyana, in collaboration with Art Khomyakov, will be introducing a new line of beachwear this Spring. Look for “Beach Bash” to be hitting the circuit soon!

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