Dita Von Teese talks fashion and shares her tips for a glamorous life
Dita Von Teese is one of a kind. A tiny, perfectly polished throwback to a time when 'making an effort' involved more than a spritz of dry shampoo, some platform heels and a lick of mascara. She is always perfectly poised and impeccably dressed, with a smart, well thought-out answer to every question.
We were lucky enough to get some time with Dita when she visited London to show off the My Cointreau evening bag, her latest project with long-term collaborators Cointreau. The elegant cream box bag houses a naughty secret - a specially designed interior that holds all the ingredients to whip up the perfect cocktail. Sneaking booze in your bag has never been so glamorous.
After a peek at the bag itself (which is available in the UK at Selfridges Oxford Street) we settled down with Dita to talk vintage style and shopping...
One of the most interesting things to note about Dita is that, though she has a very evident vintage look, quite often her clothes are modern. On stage, her burlesque outfits are custom made corsets that take her already tiny waist down to an astonishing 16.5 inches. Offstage, she will often wear creations by designers like Elie Saab, Vivienne Westwood and Jenny Packham, but by teaming them with her trademark retro hair and makeup, they look like they've come straight out of the costume department of a 1940s movie, not straight off the catwalk.
Dita has a unique ability to pick out modern pieces that fit perfectly with her retro aesthetic. "I like modern clothes, but I don't look for trends. I look for things that will look good on me." She explains. "I collect a lot of vintage and I love the thrill of the hunt...I started buying vintage because I couldn't afford designer clothes. Now I can wear both." Her favourite finds are "authentic vintage, or great designers with a vintage feel," all teamed with corsets, bullet bras and seamed stockings.
Speaking of seamed stockings, Dita has her own collection of them by Secrets In Lace. Besides being the global ambassador for Cointreau, she's had a collaboration with Wonderbra, and now has her own lingerie range "Von Follies by Dita Von Teese" which launched at Target in Australia and is now available at Debenhams as well as online for global shipping via ASOS.com, Glamuse.com and Stylebop.com. Dita has expanded her empire even more with ARTDECO Cosmetics, and she's also created a small range of dresses shipping globally from Shopdecadesinc.com.
It's clear that Dita favours luxury and quality in her clothing, so how does she feel about the plethora of vintage reproduction brands that are now cropping up, offering the 40s / 50s look with a lower price tag and fewer of those intricate details? "I have a lot of their clothes, they're really fun to wear during the day," She explains. "If you want that pin-up look, they're perfect. But you can't compare the quality to vintage or designer - there is a huge difference."
So what does she recommend to shoppers on a budget? "You can invest in quality, or you can buy for fun. I make both of those choices - I love pinup girl swimwear...but when I buy a coat, I'm going to buy the expensive coat to wear for years and years."
The continued popularity of the 'vintage' look means more and more people are emulating a look similar to Dita, and the catwalks are full of 50s style silhouettes and New Look wasp waists. Does this popularity threaten to dilute her look, or does she embrace the trend and use it to her advantage? "I like it when this look becomes trendy, because my favourite designers make things that I can wear." But she doesn't feel like her look will ever become 'normal'. "It takes a lot of effort to look like this, not everyone will want to do it!"
It's true that Dita cultivates a style that's hard to copy without time and effort, so it's even more amazing that she does almost everything herself. She doesn't work with a stylist and does her own hair and makeup. She considers herself "an expert on red lipstick" and only delegates one element of her beauty regime. "My nails are the one thing I don't like to do myself." She admits, showing off a perfect half-moon manicure in signature dark red.
So how do you get the look without the years of experience and the incredible wardrobe? Dita shared with us five ways to make life instantly more glamorous...
Dita's top five items for a more glamorous life