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Fashion designer Tatyana realizes the American dream with Bettie Page Clothing


Erik Kabik/Retna/

Tempest Storm, Bettie Page designer Tatyana Khomyakova and Claire Sinclair at the Bettie Page Clothing Booth at MAGIC at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Feb. 14, 2011.

Bettie Page Fashion Show With Claire Sinclair

The Bettie Page Fashion Show with Claire Sinclair at Fashion Show mall on Jan. 23, 2011. Launch slideshow »

Claire Sinclair at Bettie Page at Planet Hollywood

Claire Sinclair at Bettie Page at Planet Hollywood on April 22, 2011. Launch slideshow »

Editor’s Note: While Robin Leach is in London before his traditional summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy — plus, the Amalfi Coast this year — many of our Strip personalities have stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. We continue with fashion designer Tatyana Khomyakova, who is building a worldwide empire with her Bettie Page pinup creations from her Las Vegas headquarters.

Tatyana Khomyakova is the founder and designer of Bettie Page Clothing, which has stores throughout the U.S. and sells to hundreds of boutiques the world over.

Las Vegas brings to mind the land of excess and people behaving badly. It glorifies its Mob history and tries its best to earn the title of Sin City. And I suppose that’s partly true. But there’s another part of this city — a really, really cool part.

Las Vegas is the place for second chances and where ideas are transformed into reality. My personal story is what I have come to understand as the American dream. I was a single mother without a lot of resources who had been trained as a model and a designer in St. Petersburg, Russia.

My goal was to begin a fashion line in America dedicated to the classic European styles, to bring those styles to American women so that they can express their beauty and be happy and fulfilled in their own unique form.

In other words, I was an immigrant with little means bent on starting my own fashion line. “Good luck with that,” my new friends and co-workers told me. “You and everyone else want to either be a model or a designer.”

The barriers to success weren’t small. I needed capital and a pathway to express my styles in the marketplace. Fortunately, my husband supported my efforts, and today we are co-CEOs of a multimillion-dollar fashion enterprise: Tatyana Designs Inc.

We have sold tens of thousands of dresses, have 15 U.S. stores under the Bettie Page brand and have become a publicly traded company. I love America. I love the chances it gives us and the challenges that stand before us, which, when overcome, make us stronger, wiser and better.

Coming from Russia to the U.S. was in many ways a culture shock. Everything from the movies to the food to the diversity of the people opened up new experiences every day.

One thing, however, was constant. American women, like those in Russia and the rest of Europe, love style. Women like themselves and love to be stylish, feminine and flirty.

I wanted to design beautiful dresses. And this city — this glorious, confusing, outlandish and unafraid city — gave me that chance. The opportunity came when a retail space opened at Desert Passage Mall (now Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood).

I was determined to design dresses reminiscent of the Golden Age of fashion — the 1950s — but with my own interpretation. The perfect brand to identify the designs was secured, and Bettie Page Clothing was born.

It could only have happened in Las Vegas. How I love America! How I adore this city because this city loves me and gave me a wonderful chance to make my dream a reality.

Check out our other guest columns today from star chef Michael Mina and singer and trumpet titan Louis Prima Jr. On Thursday, it's Mirage headliner Terry Fator, “Bar Rescue” star Jon Taffer and the inside story about our Las Vegas wedding industry.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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