(Photo: Courtesy of CMG Worldwide)
By Jeff Swiatek
The Indianapolis Star.
Over the past six years, 1950s pinup queen Bettie Page once again posed in public in risque fashion. In vintage photos and under her name, Page was the face of an upscale women’s boutique called Bettie Page Clothing.
Owned by flashy Russian-born model and clothing designer Tatyana Khomyakova and her husband, the chain grew to 17 stores in the U.S. and Canada.
Page won’t be their virtual partner any longer.
The Indianapolis celebrity-licensing company CMG Worldwide has yanked the right to use Page’s name and image from the high-end boutique, now doing business as Tatyana Designs with nary a Bettie Page swimsuit photo brightening its walls.
The legal tug-of-war over Page’s intellectual property — she died in 2008, leaving her vast collection of iconic pinups in the hands of her estate — is hardly new for CMG.
At any given time, it has around 20 lawsuits ongoing, and past foes in court include Major League Baseball and Warner Bros., says CEO and founder Mark Roesler.
Typically, CMG’s lawsuits are filed against those who use its 300-plus celebrities’ names or likenesses (and even made-up Twitter handles) without permission.
The Bettie Page lawsuits (there are three legal actions) are different. This time CMG is suing one of its longtime and significant licensees.
Khomyakova and her entrepreneur husband, Jan Glaser, paid CMG starting in 2006 to resurrect Bettie Page in all her silk-stockinged glory to serve as the namesake for their boutiques.
The high-end shops cater to 18- to 35-year-old women who want chic, contemporary fashion inspired by the fashions of the 1940s and ’50s, when Page rose to prominence.
The Nevada-based chain opened shops on the Las Vegas Strip, the Bowery in New York, and Ashbury in San Francisco, not to mention shopping centers such as Mall of America.