You may not have heard the name Tatiana Alida Carrelet yet, but that’s about to change. The 26-year-old London-based artist and illustrator is currently taking the fashion world by storm, having just collaborated with Victoria Beckham on a series of T-shirts featuring her bright and bold designs. Despite only focusing on her art full time for less than a year, she’s already worked with some of London’s most prestigious names, including Liberty, Matilda Goad and Tart London. We caught up with her to discuss her inspirations, her future plans and what it was really like working with brand Beckham.
Tell us a bit about your background – how did you first get into illustrating?
I’ve always been really creative – on the French side of my family (I’m half French and half English) everyone paints, so it’s in my blood. Instead of doing A levels I did a B-tech in art and design, as that’s always been my strength. Then I went to Oxford Brookes to study Art and Design, but I didn’t love the course so I left a year early and went into fashion PR instead, interning at Gucci for five months. But throughout that time all I wanted to do was get back to drawing. So I decided to take on a bunch of little jobs – nannying, babysitting, working in a shop – to make money so that I could draw in my spare time. About six months ago it got to the point where I was far too busy to have both jobs, so I’ve just been focusing on my drawings ever since.
How would you describe your illustrating style?
It’s whimsical and very colourful. Aesthetically, it’s just quite joyful to look at –that’s what I’m trying to convey, anyway. I’ve always been very influenced by Matisse, as well as the London-based painter Aly Helyer – I’m obsessed with her vivid colours – David Shrigley’s drawings and Hilary Knight, who illustrated the Eloise books. I try to incorporate that cheeky look Eloise has, that “don’t mess with me” look, into the girls that I draw.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Before we went into lockdown, I spent all my spare time in art galleries – I go to as many as possible. I love all sorts of art, from modern pieces to Old Masters and Renaissance nudes. My favourite gallery is the Wallace Collection, where I’ll go on a Sunday by myself and spend the whole day listening to the audio tours, but I love the classics like the Royal Academy and the National Portrait Gallery too.
Art fairs are a great source of inspiration too, from PAD and Frieze to the Contemporary African Art Fair, which really stood out to me when I visited last year. And I get a lot of my ideas from Instagram, where I’ve turned my saved pictures into a digital mood board. There are so many random things in there, from a book on vintage tartans to brilliant quotes – I’m a big fan of a Taylor Swift lyric or two – and photographs of women looking cool; anything that catches my eye.
You’ve worked on some amazing collaborations – tell us about the ones that stand out the most to you?
The first people I worked with were the girls who founded Tart London, Jemima Jones and Lucy Carr-Ellison [regular clients of their catering business include Kate Moss, Sienna Miller and Cara Delevingne] – they were the ones who really helped launch my career. I did a set of recipe cards for them and some branding, and it took off from there. That was the job that gave me recognition, with people like [the model and designer] Leah de Wavrin seeing my work and then asking me to collaborate with her on some of her pyjama designs. And then I did the Christmas cards for Victoria Beckham Beauty…
How did that come about? Was it quite surreal to suddenly be working with Victoria Beckham?
Victoria’s been following me on Instagram from the beginning, actually. She’s always just been super supportive and sweet about my work. After we worked together on the cards she got in touch to say, “Hey, it would be really cool if you did some drawings for my VVB AW20 collection.” And I was like, “Um, yes!” So we did three T-shirts together, featuring strong women in the arts from the Twenties and Thirties.
I had a meeting with the team and they shared a mood board of what they were thinking of, and I went away and drew loads of different options. I went straight for the dancer and singer Josephine Baker, because I’ve always been completely obsessed with her and based my end of year university project on her. The team really liked the drawing and asked if I could do a couple more, so then I drew the jazz singer Billie Holiday and the actress Marlene Dietrich. The concept really appealed to me, because I always think about strong women when I’m drawing, and that’s a key part of Victoria’s clothing – it’s feminine but still strong. I’ve always loved her work, so it was incredibly cool to be holding the T-shirts when they were finished and have the label say “Victoria Beckham”.
And you’ve recently worked on another range of T-shirts, to raise money for the Red Cross’s Covid-19 fund – tell us about that.
That was a great project – I teamed up with Serena Guen, the founder of Suitcase magazine, fashion PR Sophie Elliott and stylist and brand consultant Sophie Goodwin to come up with some #IStayedIn2020 designs to go on T-shirts. It was a very collaborative project with a really tight turnaround – we pulled it all together in just three weeks, with my friend doing the printing. We’ve managed to raise £8,500 for charity so far and the support has been great – Laura Bailey’s worn one, as have Alex Eagle and Collagerie founder Serena Hood.
How would you describe your personal style?
I love vintage clothes – I buy a lot of pieces from Sigrid Maria’s online archive. For party dresses I’ll go and trawl through vintage fairs with my mum, like the Frock Me Fair at the Chelsea Town Hall on the King’s Road – it’s quite hectic in there and full of eccentric characters, but I love it. I’m drawn to things that are a little bit quirky and eye-catching – that’s why I like brands like Shrimps and The Vampire’s Wife. My trademark look is a frilly blouse teamed with white boots – they’re my go-to pieces.
Tatiana's Summer Style Edit
I’ve designed some notebooks for the Istanbul-based accessories brand Misela, which are coming out in late June, and I’ve also started creating my own line of stationery – I worked on a range of Valentine’s Day cards for Liberty earlier in the year and that was really fun – as well as T-shirts featuring my illustrations. There’s a demand for them, so I thought why not? But my main project is planning an exhibition of my pieces in London, which will be my first. I’m working with someone who’s going to be helping me curate it – I can’t say who yet, but the show will be a collection of pieces that no one has really seen before. The plan is to hold it in November in a space near Trafalgar Square – Covid-19 permitting!