Burlesque star, style icon, and fashion muse Dita Von Teese is no stranger to designing lingerie or beauty—but this time she’s bringing her creations to the masses via HSN. Her underpinnings collection ($25–$45) and two fragrances ($20–$75) will launch on the home shopping site on April 23. Expect lingerie that gives a nod to the 1950s with ultra-femme details like velvet ribbons, eyelash lace trim and control mesh. Before the goods become available, we spoke with the humble star about her inspirations, DIY beauty, and how to be a true sex symbol.
ELLE: What inspired your lingerie for HSN?
Dita Von Teese: Well, I’ve been a long-time collector of vintage. I have a long-standing affection for lingerie, but also as most people know, retro style. And I really wanted to use the knowledge that I have from my first career when I was 15. I worked at a lingerie store as a bra-fitter and buyer. For this collection, I wanted to bring together fit, function, and affordability with touches of glamour and retro style.
ELLE: What makes your designs both functional and fashionable?
DVT: I’ve always loved having beautiful lingerie to wear in my every day life, and I’ve never saved beautiful lingerie just for seduction purposes or for when someone else is gonna see it. So it was really important to me to make these pieces work well under clothing and give good shaping. They are pieces that you can wear comfortably, so you’re not compromising beauty and glamour for fit and function.
ELLE: Could the pieces be worn on display, perhaps peeking out?
DVT: There are definitely a lot of pieces in the collection that I think you could definitely wear underneath a sheer blouse or with the top peeking out of a suit. I’ve always loved little hints of what’s underneath, without showing too much. It’s a way of being seductive but elegant at the same time.
ELLE: What influenced your fragrances?
DVT: This funny thing happened to me a few years ago when I was first approached to do my own scent. I had been wearing the same perfume for about almost 20 years, Houbigant Quelques Fleurs. It’s a very old perfume house, very top dollar. I was dating a French man at the time. He confessed to me three weeks into our relationship that his mother wore the same perfume as me, so I had to change mine. I could’ve gotten rid of the man, but I chose instead to change the perfume. At the same time, I was approached to make my own, so I really got involved in the process. I was living in Paris, and working closely with the fragrance house to create something really unique and special that I could call my own signature perfume. It needed to have an air of high sophistication and glamour. [For HSN], I wanted to get to offer an affordable product in a beautiful bottle that still has that element that still feels expensive. It took a lot of time, focus, and ambition to get to the point where I believed that the perfume could replace my $300 perfume.
ELLE: What does the fragrance you created smell like to you?
DVT: As a little girl growing up in a small farming town in Michigan, my idols were women like Marlene Dietrich and Rita Hayworth. I did a lot of research about what kinds of perfume these women wore. A lot of modern celebrity fragrances have sweetness, vanilla, fruit, and freshness. I wanted mine to have that feel of sophistication and glamour of a different time, but without smelling like, old-fashioned or like your grandmother’s perfume.
ELLE: What drew you to team up with HSN?
DVT: I’m drawn to it because my whole career and every aspect of it is about do-it-yourself glamour. I do not run with an entourage of makeup stylists, and I don’t have someone dictating to me what is the right thing to wear. I don’t have anyone advising me. Every one of my products—my lingerie, my perfume, and everything that I do beauty-related with regard to building my burlesque shows—is just me. And I’m really into the motto: I can do it, you can do it. It’s not magic, you just have to have the ambition, patience, and desire to create it yourself. It has a special meaning to be able to offer these kind of products at an affordable price to other women that want to have glamour in their everyday lives.