Our featured filly is a lady full of spark who I have had the absolute pleasure of meeting and chatting to in person. When I first met Tatiana earlier in the year at the Adelaide Cup I thought to myself ‘you really could not find a nicer lady if you tried’. While we were waiting for the Fashion’s on the Field to start I listened to Tatiana talk about how she’d made her outfit and travelled all the way from Darwin to enter. Tatiana’s passion for creating shines through in everything she does and it is infectious. I just had to share her story so read on to find out more about this lovely lady and her inspiring creative talents…

Oh and if you are thinking ‘that face looks familiar’ Tatiana just won runner up in Milano Imai’s monochrome themed Field Fashion Challenge, in an outfit she made herself.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Ukraine and when I was 7 years old my parents moved to Poland where I grew up, finished my master degree in Marketing and started my career in accountancy. I then met my husband and we moved to Australia. He always says with a smile on his face ” I went travelling single and came back married”.

I must say, fashion has always been in my heart or as I would say “It’s in my blood”.

All women in my family were involved in fashion at some point. My grandma was working as a supervisor in a big warehouse where they produced clothes. My auntie worked in a factory where sweaters and pullovers were made. When I was a little girl 5-6 years old, I used to ask her “Can I come to work with you?” and she always said yes. She showed me big sewing machines where she made sweaters and when one of them was ready we were directed to another section where all embellishments were made and added to the clothes. I remember vividly how exciting it was for me. It was incredible watching those clothes being made and I wanted to be there all the time.

My mum was hat maker specialising in Russian winter fur hats. Winter is very cold there so women wear lovely knee high leather boots, warm fur or leather coats with a winter fur hat. This is just an example for fashionable women in east European Countries.


When did you start going to the races? Was that the time you started making clothes?
The first time I attended the races was for the DTC Ladies Day 2016. I was amazed by all the stunning ladies, beautiful garments, and incredible millinery. At the time I thought to myself “I love it, this is it”.

For the first time, I made my “Flamingo” dress and I competed in FOTF. I took second place overall and thought that was the highlight of the day … but wait …there was more – as I just sat down they called my name for “1st Place in People Choice Millinery Award”. It took me about two weeks to make the dress and my hat I created just a few nights before the event. I bought a simple black hat and attached feathers, flowers and few other details to it, to match my dress.

I was so glad I could find the right embellishments and colours in such a short time and was so pleased with the finished product. I was shocked at the time when they called my name but I realized people really loved my design. I had always dreamed of creating and designing but never had the opportunity. That day I realized what my calling was and started pursuing my passion.

How did you learn/get started?
I’ve got lovely people around me who believe in me and encourage me, my family, friends, work colleagues. For my birthday, my husband bought me the gear I needed to get started and since I began to create and I just can’t stop. To achieve a quality finish I also needed an over-locker so I began investing in my future and my home studio which is continually expanding.

It all comes so naturally to me because my passion for fashion is endless. There are times when I wake up at night with ideas. So the next day, if I feel it is something, I start working on it.


What do you love about making your own clothes?
One of the reasons I started designing is because when I go shopping with a vision of what I want, I can’t find what I am looking for. I have always received positive comments with my style and I know I have a vision with my ideas, so it’s time for me to bring them to life.

I love making my own clothes because it brings me so much joy and if it makes me happy, making it will definitely bring pleasure to the person who will be wearing it.

I always say “Fashion doesn’t have a barrier” so when I create I want to achieve something amazing, different, something that catches your eye and something unique you can’t buy anywhere else. I love original garments, distinctive fabric and innovative ideas where every little detail counts.


Do you have any advice for ladies who would like to have a go at making clothes for themselves?
I would say “Go for it”. If you have the time, idea and passion for sewing then do it. Play and have fun, use different techniques to see what’s working for you, enjoy the moment of creation and you never know what you can come up with. Believe in yourself and if you need help don’t hesitate to ask – there are no silly questions, maybe only silly answers 🙂

What’s your favourite thing about going to the races?
To be honest, I have always loved hats and want to wear them all the time, so going to the races is a perfect excuse to wear unique millinery. I think that the whole package like an amazing dress, remarkable hat, accessories, makeup and the rest makes us as women feel beautiful, strong and confident. Being at the races is always a guaranteed a great fun day out with friends and family. I love meeting new people and all my fellow fashionistas.

Since I love designing my own pieces, I also love seeing how other girls put their outfits together. It’s like a fashion show and everybody looks so incredibly good.


Who are your favourite milliners?
The is so many great milliners and designers who create amazing pieces. I really love Maor Zabar, Ana Bella Millinery, and Philip Treacy. I’ve got my head piece ready to go for Derby Day in Melbourne 2017 from Joanna Roberts Designs, which feels like I am wearing a piece of art. I can’t wait to wear it. I do like to support local milliners and my last headpiece, which I loved so much was by Gina Marie Millinery Darwin. I went to see Gina with all my ideas and my dress fabric. We discussed the shape and colours so it would complete my look perfectly. I knew it would be amazing and it was.


Out of all the race days you have attended what is your favourite?
My favourite race day… I think is Ladies Day because I feel like it’s one of those days where women connect the most and I love that. It’s a day where you meet other incredible women, a day of fashion, friendship, laughter, bubbles, great music, horse races, and dancing.

Who are your go-to designers for inspiration?
The biggest designers I always look up to are Chanel, Dior, D&G, Elie Saab, Alexander McQueen, Georges Hobeika. Of the Australian designers, I admire Paolo Sebastian, Carla Zampatti, Alex Perry and Tony Maticevski. There are many other designers I follow like Mary Katrantzou or Kuteiko. I love their unique style and designs. I’ve got huge respect for those who design their own gowns, head pieces because I know how much work goes into it.


Do you have any handy tips for saving money when planning your race day outfit?
When I plan my race day outfit I start with the dress. First I am looking for the right fabric and when something catches my eye, I buy it. Then I design it, sew it and move on to my head piece, accessories etc.

Tips? Ok. You don’t have to spend big to create your perfect look. It all depends on your budget and what you want to achieve. First of all, think about what you are looking for. Research that style online, in local stores, on Instagram & Pinterest and see if it’s doable. If you buy it, great, if not, think about plan B – do it your self or ask someone to help you with the styling or to make you an custom outfit.

This way you are guaranteed you will stand out from the crowd. Sometimes it’s hard to stick to the budget when you see something you really like and then the budget goes out the window, but think creatively and do some brainstorming. Think outside the box and if you can’t get what you’re looking for, consider maybe painting a clutch, or shoes you already have or maybe modify your existing outfit. I have done this previously and it worked for me. Ask your friends to lend you a piece of jewelry that you think will work with that outfit. Also if there is no rush, take your time to get some bits and pieces together and create your own broche or handmade beaded belt for example.


What are you making at the moment?
At the moment I am getting ideas together for Melbourne Cup 2017. I’ve started planning a wedding dress for my best friend for next year and I may also design the bridesmaid dresses as well.