Q&A with Bettie Page Store owner Tanya Elvgren
Tanya Elvgren was born and raised in Northern Russia where she didn't own a pair of shoes until she was five. She grew up fascinated by fashion, treasuring everything she owned, especially a coat her mother had purchased for her. After highschool, Tanya attended the University of Culture in St. Petersburg Russia, and upon graduation she entered the world of modeling. She also attended the Fashion Institute program in Paris and took courses in fashion design and marketing at UNVL.
After relocating to America, Tanya wanted to open a store of her own. Inspired by 1950's pinup vixen Bettie Page, Elvgren created the one and only Bettie Page store. The first Bettie Page store that opened was at The Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. With pure talent and a little luck, The Bettie Page store has been a favorite of celebrities such as Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt, Playmate of the year Claire Sinclair, and Denise Richards. Elvgren's designs have also been seen on Gossip Girl.
More than 300 boutiques around the world sell Elvgren's original Bettie Page clothing.
SGN: How did the Bettie Page store start?
Tanya: The first store opened in March of 2007. The opening was a leap of faith in that we didn't do any market research or even have a business plan. We took pretty much all our capital and built out the store, manufactured the dresses, ordered the accessories and opened. Fortunately, everything worked...And now we have already 6 stores! ( the 6Th one will be open at the end of May)
SGN: Tell me more about your fabulous dresses!
Tanya: The dresses are retro inspired from the golden age of fashion -- which most people consider to be the 1950s. I take the inspiration from the era, put my design overlay in place, use modern fabrics (mainly stretch) and end up with designs that seem to be quite popular!
SGN: Why is Bettie Page such an inspiration to you?
Tanya: Bettie was a women who charted her own course in life. She was angelic and a little naughty at the same time -- I find the contradiction very appealing and try to reflect her spirit in my designs.
SGN: What's the message of the Bettie page store?
Tanya: That every women can be mysterious and alluring.
SGN: What is it like to have your styles bought by Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt, and other celebs?
Tanya: Holly, Bridget, Denise Richards and other up and coming stars are quite easy to be with. We have in common a love for design and the feminine form and find ourselves conversing over coffee without pretense. They are very genuine, unspoiled and delightful.
SGN: Your advice to fashionistas!
Tanya: Find what works for you in terms of look, desire and appeal. Dress as you are -- not how you want to be. There is something about fashion that reflects ones personality. People can tell if your fashion and your personality match and one is more comfortable wearing something that is truly reflective of who they are...
Visit the store! www.bettiepageclothing.com