It’s 2003. I’m 8 years old, sitting cross legged in front of the coffee table in the living room, pouring over a tiny 90’s Moschino look book. Inside are wondrous and bizarre images - models wearing tunics made out of playing cards, different suites emblazoned on dresses and bags. The next book I reach for is a history book on the iconic department store BIBA, with its luxurious gold lettering and pictures of it’s modish, extravagant interiors. This is one of my earliest memories - looking through my mum’s art and fashion books and imagining what sorts of glamorous and crazy lives the people within these pages must have.
Later, as a teenager growing up in the age of global capitalism and cheap, disposable fashion, clothes took on a different meaning. Like any 14 year old, I wanted to fit in - to be like everyone else. Perhaps I also wanted to rebel against my mother (as is natural at that age) - who was always a fantastic dresser and an avant-garde designer in her own right. I remember as a kid, for Christmas she would put on a costume of her own making - something she called “the Christmas Fairy”. Luminous green and silks and billowing materials, she would be transformed into this other worldly creature and dance around us - bringing us presents and kisses. It was awesome. We never needed Santa.
My mother was always encouraging me to express myself with my clothing, just like she did as a form of rebellion in the Soviet Union. But for me, clothes represented a way to feel safe and normal, to belong rather than to be different. That was the time we lived in though, the age of mass fashion - before social media had divided us into our different sub-groups and affinities. Perhaps now it’s easier to be a teenager and dress differently, but at the time it felt like sacrilege to step outside of the “topshop norm-core” that was my world.
It was really only through my time living abroad that my relationship to fashion started to change. Living in south-east Asia, I was lucky enough to visit places like Indonesia and Vietnam. I got to see how textiles are made, how materials are woven together, and then to uneasily discover the true cost of fast fashion. I began to see that clothing should not be a paper napkin you throw away without washing, and how important it is to see how things are produced and how they survive.
My real understanding of fashion only began about 3 years ago when I moved back to London. I discovered vintage clothing, started reading more about the history of fashion, and started to crave owning pieces that meant something to me - items I would cherish and take care of. Some of my favourites include some early Jeremy Scott/Moschino designs, a beautiful Ossie Clark dress, and an awesome pair of Martin Margiela disco ball pants from a collab with HnM. All of these items are built to last, and after me someone else will get to wear them.
I’m still learning - I’m still on a journey. But on the way I’ve started to discover my own style and what I like. Now fashion means something else to me. It’s a way to put me in a certain mood, a passport for entering a room, a conversation starter. As a performer, stage clothing by design needs to be eye-catching and elevating. I think my stage style icon is probably Bjork - I love that she is not afraid to use different materials. My mum’s own designs were often made out of plastic, foam and pvc. I’d love to wear one of her designs on stage one day. It would feel pretty powerful and like life had come full circle.
Her mom's designs - From the archives of TATYANA
Moshino Lookbook - From the archives of TATYANA