New Delhi: Burlesque queen Dita Von Teese, on her maiden trip to India, says she has fallen in love with the saree and is learning to drape the six-yard wonder. “I went shopping for sarees and I am very excited about trying them. I am learning to drape them and have been watching how it is done. I think I kind of understand how it is done,” Von Teese told PTI.
The glamorous beauty, who looks like an incarnation of a Hollywood star of the 1930s and 40s with her scarlet lips and perfectly coiffed raven hair, hopes to reference Indian fashion in her performances also in future.
“I have not referenced India in my performances but I would like to. But it is difficult when people don’t understand it in the right way,” she said. Burlesque is an elaborate and glamorous performance involving stripping. Von Teese, a trained costume designer who often designs her photoshoots herself, finds the traditional Indian saree sensual as well.
“I feel it is very relative (to burlesque) because the way it comes off is very exciting, very sensual,” she said. The glamorous star took out some time from her whirlwind trip to the country to visit the Taj Mahal, try the local food and shop.
“I had lot of Indian food. I don’t get to eat it often but I love it. I did not see much because I had just one day outside the hotel but I went to see Taj Mahal and that met my expectations, which were very high.”
The 40-year-old beauty, in India as the global brand ambassador for Cointreau, wore a black Shivan and Narresh lace saree at the ‘Be Cointreauversial’ party last night here. She regrets not performing in India.
“I have been associated with the brand for five years now. I think they probably got the idea of approaching me because I am known for bathing in giant cocktail glasses,” she said, referring to one of her popular routines.
Von Teese, real name Heather Renee Sweet, opened up more when her favourite subject of burlesque came up. Recalling how the scene has changed since her arrival, Von Teese said, “I started performing 20 years ago. There was not much of burlesque scene at that time, just few girls doing it in different countries. It is much bigger now.”
The popularity has brought commercial aspect to the performances but Von Teese says she tries her best to inform people about its correct history. “There are moments when it is very commercialised and people sort of capitalise on it. They try to rewrite the history of burlesque. I am making it my mission to make sure that people know what real burlesque was. I wrote a book that touched the history a little bit but there are many books on it now. I try to steer people towards the one which are right,” she said.
Von Teese is confident that she will leave behind a rich legacy of burlesque. “I hope there is a legacy. There is a much bigger scene now. People are talking burlesque all the time. But I think a lot of people need to think outside of just what I do. They should bring something that is different instead of replicating.”
Talking about her love of retro fashion, Von Teese says was always fascinated by the fashion of old Hollywood. “It is something that I have always loved. I think I was five-year-old when I started watching old movies and that’s where my fascination started.”