She’s Bringing Sexy Back: We Get Intimate With Dita Von Teese

Entertainer, stunning beauty, savvy entrepreneur — Dita Von Teese is truly a modern Renaissance woman. While bringing back retro glamour, she single-handedly re-introduced the world to the long-forgotten art of burlesque. Not content to be just a pretty face with a knack for shimmying, Von Teese (née Heather Sweet) capitalized on her momentum by launching her own line of fragrances overseas. Now, with the help of HSN, she's finally bringing her signature scents and a lingerie line to her home shores.
We got the chance to talk to DVT about the launch, her reputation as a master of seduction, and her surprisingly no-nonsense beauty routine. Read on to learn more about this bewitching babe, and be prepared to fall under her spell — we sure did.

Tell us a bit about how this collaboration with HSN came about.
"I have an existing fragrance line in Europe and lingerie collection in Australia. I'm more of a household name in Europe, so this was a great opportunity to open me up to a wider audience. I'm still a bit more risqué here and have a more underground fan base. For me, it's a great way to be introduced to the HSN woman. Maybe she hasn't heard of me before and hopefully she will understand what I preach — obtainable, everyday glamour."

Can you describe the fragrances?
"I'm currently in the process of creating my fourth — they've been on the shelves in Europe and Fred Segal has been carrying them, but [nowhere else in the U.S.]. HSN is going to carry my first two fragrances, Dita Von Teese and Dita Von Teese Rouge."

What made you want to create your own perfume?
"I had been wearing the same fragrance for 20 years — Quelques Fleurs — since I was 15. My boyfriend at the time [Louis-Marie de Castelbajac] confessed to me that his mom wore the same perfume, so I tried other perfumes, but nothing really grabbed me. At the same time, I had been approached to create my own. I was able to work closely with the perfumers and create my signature scent from scratch."

How are your perfumes different from other celebrity fragrances?
"Usually [when you make your own fragrance] they put bottles in front of you and say 'Choose one of these, because these did the best in focus groups.' I was intent on making something sophisticated and elegant and glamorous — a tribute to Old Hollywood, but not a grandma perfume. I'm pretty knowledgeable about old and rare perfumes, so I got really into it. I stood my ground and insisted on no vanilla, or fruit, or candy, or gourmand elements. I wanted it to be a sophisticated, refined, glamorous, mysterious, elegant, voluptuous, floral fragrance. To show my fans what a classic, beautiful fragrance should be — not your typical celebrity perfume."


Why do you think your retro style appeals to the modern woman?
"I like to think that it appeals to them for the same reason it appealed to me: I felt like there aren't a lot of modern role models of glamour and beauty that I could relate to. When I look at the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, there's nothing I can do there. She [Kate Upton] looks like she has no makeup on, she has a tan, she's perfect — it's god-given natural beauty. We're fed natural beauty; that if you wear too much makeup it's fake. I thought, 'I don't look like those girls; I need a role model of sexy, pretty, and glamour.' I look at Old Hollywood and it's clear those women were created beauties — and I can create that.

"A lot of my female fans know I am quick to admit that there is discipline and creation involved with my look, but they know they can do it, too. Whether it's with makeup, or clothes, or a nice hairstyle, or beautiful lingerie, or perfume — there are little bits of luxury and glamour you can infuse into your everyday life. Even when I had no money to spend on clothes, that's when I started dressing in vintage clothes — I couldn't afford designer. That's why I started wearing red lipstick — it made a very glamorous statement, made me feel special, and you can buy two lipsticks for $5. Everything that my style is developed on — the way I dress and how I do my hair and makeup — started when I was making $2.25 an hour at my job.
The art of creating glamour is what I believe in. There's a special kind of glamour that comes from the creation of beauty that isn't about private jets, fancy cars, or the most expensive whatever."


Photo: Courtesy of HSN


All this talk about creation — you must have a very involved beauty routine. Can you walk us through it?
"A lot of people think I have a high-maintenance look, but that's not my everyday thing. I don't wear my full drag every day. I spend an hour getting red carpet-ready. I don't use a glam squad — I do it myself. Right now, I'm sitting here with a chignon, a sweep of face powder, and some red lipstick. That took me under 10 minutes to do.

On a normal day, I get up and I do Pilates first thing in the a.m. I splash my face with water, put on some sunscreen, a little bit of powder, lipstick, and sunglasses. The key to my success is everyday practice — I can put on my red lips on in under a minute — consistency, and being devoted to certain things that make me feel good about myself."

What are some of your must-have beauty products?
"I'm always looking for things that are going to shorten my get-ready time. I've heard a lot about BB creams lately, and I have one I love called Miracle Skin Transformer. I'm also excited by L'Oréal's new Miracle Blur. I use a retinol at night before bed a couple times a week with a moisturizer, but I flirt with a lot of different brands. One brand I do love because it never irritates my skin is Crème De La Mer. I keep looking for something else because it's expensive, but haven't found anything yet. I like Eminence Organics Coconut Age Corrective Moisturizer, but I'm still trying to decide if it's a must-have."


What about makeup? Do you have a red you love for getting your signature red lip?
"I love my own collection of makeup, but it's only in Europe. I'm working on a new collection that will launch in the U.S. For lips, I don't wear beige — I feel naked without color. I feel like I look dead. I wear orange in the summer, or dark pink a lot. I like something that looks like there are rose petals on my lips."

Any suggestions for someone who says they can't wear red lipstick?
"There's more than just one type of red. I've done fuchsia, bright orange, burgundy red and a blue red. People think a vibrant lip color has to be red, but it can be anything just as long as it's vibrant. It's still elegant and impactful [even if it's not red]."

Summer is around the corner, so we have to ask you how you keep your porcelain complexion protected. Any favorite SPF's?
"I like MD Solar Sciences Mineral Lotion for my body — it's a life-changer. I ride horses and I just went for a ride and decided to use this other SPF and now this white chalky residue is all over my stuff. This one I can put on and there's no smell and it's not greasy — it's silky and feels almost sensual. It's expensive, but it totally works and it must be in my life always."

Photo: Courtesy of HSN

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