DITA VON TEESE says that the key to a truly happy Valentine’s Day is great lingerie – and that goes for single girls as well as those in relationships. As she launches her latest underwear collection, entitled Her Sexellency, she explains how to find the perfect set and demonstrates exactly how to wear it in an exclusive film.
“I’ve spent many many Valentine’s Days as a single girl, and I still love my beautiful lingerie,” she says. “It makes me feel good about myself; it makes me feel like I’m embracing glamour in my everyday life, that I’m ready for moments of seduction whenever they come.”
As a member of the style-conscious Gilt MANual readership, you probably know better than to follow the typical Valentine’s Day playbook. You know, the one that involves picking up some chocolates and flowers at the local drug store, fighting for a dinner reservation, and nodding solemnly at the men at neighboring tables who are also out doing their yearly romantic duty. What you may not know is how to make the holiday feel actually, well, fun. For a little advice on how to cook up an evening that’s romantic, sexy, and enjoyable, we hit up the world’s favorite burlesque goddess, Dita Von Teese, for her take.
When it comes to Valentine’s Day, should we guys be striving for originality, or is it best to stick to the classics?
Stick to the classics… A well-penned love or lust letter, a classic erotic book (hardcover only!) with a dedication, flowers, perfume or lingerie that you know she will love. Take notice of the pretty things she buys for herself and try to emulate what works and makes her feel confident. Take a peek in her lingerie drawer and snap pics of her sizes and favorite styles and use that information to choose.
Danielle Steele caused quite a kerfuffle when she criticized San Francisco in The Wall Street Journal, saying, “There’s no style, nobody dresses up—you can’t be chic there.” For anyone, like Ms. Steele, who has abandoned hope that San Franciscans know how to get dolled up, the crowd at Dark Garden on Sunday was a welcome sight: Throngs of women in corsets and heels and perfect coiffures queueing up for the chance to meet burlesque queen Dita Von Teese.
The raven-haired beauty was at Dark Garden to promote her lingerie line, Von Follies by Dita Von Teese. (The shop, best known for its custom corsets, is currently the only retail location in the city that carries the Von Follies line.) We stole a few minutes with Dita to find out what influenced her lingerie and fragrance lines, who makes the best red lipstick, and how we can up our glamour quotient in 2014.
You’re glamorous and perfect, and we hear that you do your own hair and makeup. What’s your beauty routine like? How long does it take?
“It depends. On a normal day, I would just wear mascara, a bit of powder, red lipstick, and put my hair in a chignon. I can do that in under 10 minutes. That’s my normal day. For an event, I like to turn up the glamour. I spend about an hour getting ready, sometimes an hour and a half.”
Are there any particular red lipsticks that you would recommend?
“I have my favorites. I’m a big fan of a matte red lip. I think that MAC makes some very fine, very very powdery reds, which I really love. NARS makes some nice lip color. I like this brand called Make Up Store, (which is not Makeup Forever). They make some wonderful, very highly pigmented lipsticks, which is something I look for.”
Raven-haired burlesque beauty Dita Von Teese (born a natural blonde 41 years ago as Heather Renee Sweet) knows a thing or 36D about lingerie. Known from Paris to Pasadena for tastefully taking off her dainties, Von Teese has led the full-blown revival of striptease that continues to gather audiences seeking seduction over sex.
“I’m very surprised at the growing popularity of burlesque,” purrs the polished Von Teese, sitting on a Victorian settee at Dark Garden, the Hayes Valley custom corsetiere where many of her costumes are made. “When I began performing in 1991, I definitely did not think it would become a worldwide phenomenon. And I would never have dreamed I’d still be doing it.”
Von Teese is in town to promote her new Von Follies line of lacy lingerie, which will be carried at Dark Garden. This is the first time the collection will be sold in America, a continuation of her successful line of vintage-inspired bras, garter belts and panties that launched in Australian department stores in 2012.
“I had a lot to prove,” she says. “It was very important to have creative control over every aspect of the design. I’ve been observing the worlds of fetish gear and retro styles for years. I’ve designed the pieces I’ve always wished I could find.”
She’s the modern-day “Pied Piper of glamour”; renowned for dazzling, Swarovski-encrusted performance costumes, sophisticated burlesque routines and performances in front of fashion’s elite (Marc Jacobs and Christian Louboutin to name a few), with an on-stage presence that’s larger than life. Dita Von Teese takes time out to chat about her new lingerie collection, modern day beauty and everyday glamour.
Glamour Girl, Femme Fatale, whatever you call her, it’s Teese’s flair for reinvention and a self-proclaimed obsession with Golden Age Hollywood that led to a change of identity and career filled with glitz, glamour and femininity.
We sat down with Dita to talk about her new lingerie collection, her love of Technicolour beauty and everything in between…
Congratulations on your new line for Myer, it looks beautiful. What’s the inspiration behind it?
I wanted to do something that has all the little details of retro glamour, but with modernized shapes and styles. I took a lot of influence from my archive of vintage lingerie, but also I have a big library of catalogues and pin up magazines and things like that from the 30s, 40s, 50s and even 60s. So I drew a lot of inspiration from that, and then I thought, how I take retro style and make it more accessible, wearable and functional in everyday life?
Dita Von Teese made a name for herself wearing racy lingerie during her shows as a burlesque dancer, so it’s no wonder she was in Australia to launch her own range of sexy underwear, exclusive to Myer. Kate Waterhouse caught up with the 41-year-old while she was in town to chat about how she maintains her porcelain skin, her hopes to one day start a family and how retirement is not on her agenda.
The 40-year-old burlesque dancer is famous for her classic style.
The gorgeous performer’s home is filled with antiques and odes to bygone eras.
Despite her penchant for relics, Dita argues that she is equally as in tune with the digital generation as anyone else.
“I’m a modern woman in a lot of ways. I don’t wear vintage shoes; I love technology, and I love Twitter,” she told People magazine.
“But I also love the history of my things. When I discover something rare and wonderful, I feel like it’s my responsibility to make sure it lives on.
“People always say, ‘Oh, she lives in another era.’ But it’s not true. I just love to be surrounded by things of glamour and beauty.”
Dita doesn’t embrace all modernity however.
She is happy with the colourful, bulky and beautifully adorned furniture in her home and couldn’t imagine taking on a modern architectural look.
“I can’t stand modern white interiors. IKEA is my worst nightmare!” she said.
“I can’t imagine living in one of those stark, modern, slick, cold homes.”
Dita is proud of the pinup art and stuffed animals in her property.
She believes her unique items add character to her living space.
“I collect antique or ethical taxidermy – meaning the animals died naturally. I think they’re beautiful,” she explained.
Hello Ms. von Teese! I had the pleasure of seeing you at the Crazy Horse in Vegas a few years ago. I was in heaven. Do you plan to do more Crazy Horse shows? Also, I once read an interview where you said that it only takes you something like 20 minutes to get ready?!? Can you please share with us how this is possible when you always appear so well put-together? I need an hour at least from shower to stepping out the door, with the majority of my time spent blowing out my long-ass hair. It is necessary if I’m to go out without a frizzy mess o’ tangles. Finally, what is your favorite liquid eye-liner, and do you have application tips/tricks? Thanks in advance! -Lacey