For the past couple of weeks we’ve noticed a surge in page views for a post that appeared here on RealLifeSTL back in February of 2012. It seemed kind of strange, especially considering the event wasn’t happening again. The subject of the post in question was an art exhibit featuring Bettie Page.
I really had no idea who Bettie Page was other than what the post said, “an iconic 50′s pin-up queen.” I had zero idea as to why people seemed to be searching for things about her. The St. Louis answer has to do with Bettie Page Clothing opening a St. Louis area location at Taubman Prestige Outlets in Chesterfield. The National answer is that Ms. Page has been heating up the news lately like she heated up the 1950s. A documentary will be released about her fame and her disappearance from it on November 22nd in a limited run.
Bettie Page Clothing opened its first store in 2007 in Las Vegas. Tatyana Khomyakova, a Russian-born fashion designer, is behind the clothing line. Khomyakova draws inspiration for the line in part from Page, who was one of the first “Playmates of the Month” in Playboy Magazine. Clothing from the line has been worn by the likes of Miranda Lambert, Pink, and Leighton Meester, to name a few celebrities. There are now 17 Bettie Page Clothing stores around the country and the line is sold in boutiques around the world. The line had sales in excess of $10 million last year. A press release from Tatyana Designs, the company behind the line, reported boutique sales were up 71% in the first quarter of this year over last year with sales of $3.1 million.
While the Bettie Page Clothing story is a pretty cool one, it’s probably not cool enough to make several documentaries about. Hugh Hefner chose Page as Playmate of the Month in 1955. To this day her name is “synonymous with sexual freedom” for many. Katy Perry, Rihanna, and Beyonce are said to owe parts of their fame to her. Bettie Page Reveals All will open in New York on November 22nd and then be shown in limited released around the country. Her life and career have already been examined in books and on film numerous times. Reveals All will be the first time the masses have really been able to hear Page’s voice. Newsweek describes the documentary as “a PowerPoint presentation crammed with stock footage, and scored by the Freeconferencecall.com Orchestra.”
Page died in 2006 but lent her voice to Director Mike Mori’s film through audio tapes she made towards the end of her illustrious life. Page talks about abuse at the hands of her father during her younger years before she briefly worked in education and was then “discovered” while at Coney Island. While Page’s work was pretty tame by today’s standards, she was once forced to testify before Congress on the subject of pornography. Previously unpublished nude photos of Page were “leaked” recently. Those photos were allegedly somehow hidden when a photo shoot was raided by police and pictures were confiscated.
At 34, Page virtually disappeared from the public eye. The years after her career were tumultuous in a much different way. There were assaults, at least one attempted murder, and a stay in a mental hospital. Page talks about all of that in the tapes. In the late ’70s into the ’80s, Bettie Page’s legacy made a comeback. She was living in a group home in California when she was tracked down and interviewed. She then embarked on a quest to get money for the use of her likeness. In 2011, her estate earned an estimated $6 million.
Surely Bettie Page is happy to see a second resurgence of interest in her life and career. If you want to channel Bettie Page yourself, head over to the YouTube channel. Check out the trailer for Bettie Page Reveals All.
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