At a very young age, Tat was not going to accept the world telling her who she should be. Like everyone in her birthplace of Georgia, she explains, she was “small, with thick eyebrows, dark hair, and big brown eyes.” But probably unique to her, when confronted with the pervasive standard of her tall, blonde Barbies, she ripped off their heads. Today, at 23, Tat is not dreaming of the life she wants to lead but is living it in London while attending the prestigious Central Saint Martins College. She’s comfortable in her exotic, beautiful skin and it shows. Evident in everything from her refusal to wear a bra under an ASOS sheer black dress to showing off great legs — that she once felt she needed to cover up — in sequined hot pants from Topshop with an Edwardian Gaultier blouse and her coveted nautical Mugler blazer.
The idea of eating Heinz soup for three weeks to save up to buy this month’s “It” shoe eludes Tat completely. Why, she wonders, do you have exchange what you love for what’s new? It takes confidence like hers to get that Margiela dress, which with a Peats Please jacket everyone claims looks like something a nurse would wear, even though it’s as a chic as it gets. Scrubs, not so dissimilar from Tat’s mom’s “Audrey uniform” of black turtleneck, black pants, and Chanel flats are a dead giveaway of not only good taste but of someone who doesn’t give an ounce of their power away to social norms.
It might be the Gemini in her who hides away at times only to emerge when she is ready or – more likely – the invaluable lesson learned growing up in Angola, where her house faced the homes of happy locals, despite living in cardboard shacks, that contributes to Tat’s wisdom. In Georgia, the political issues were no less eye opening and mind expanding, including a lifetime of cold water showers. Their cafe culture and its ease of conversational friendship mirrors Paris, except for its topics surrounding the younger generation and its consistent hunger for revolution. “The only thing we have is tourism, and if we keep having revolution after revolution no one’s going to want to come… When I go back, it’s just as bad as you see on the news. There was blood everywhere on the streets,” she feels. A citizen of the world, whether in Levi’s blue jeans, a kimono cocoon coat or the spurs on her vintage boots that she gets from Kentucky, Tat was raised on the move in Georgia, Moscow, Angola, Houston, Korea, and Turkey. “I enjoy my life being a bit of a hurricane: Unplanned, messy, happy, and intense,” she says, “With a touch of containment and calmness.”