CHAT: The diminutive Dita Von Teese is a glamorous package of loveliness, and I had the wonderful experience of chatting with this unique style icon about Hollywood, costume design, corsets, Jean Paul Gaultier, and of course Cointreau last week. The Queen of Burlesque was in Dallas to perform her variety show “Burlesque: Strip Strip Hooray!” at the House of Blues, and promote the launch of her second signature cocktail – The Cointreau MargaDita. The launch has already been a success in New York and Los Angeles, and now Dallas meets Dita.
MT: The Golden era and Hollywood have been a huge influence in your career – why?
DVT: When I was a little girl my Mom loved antiques and to watch old movies, so that’s where it started. My biggest influence is the WWII era and Technicolor musicals, and particularly, at that point in time Betty Grable was the number one box office star, so my favorite films starred Betty Grable and Carmen Miranda – I love the big song and dance Technicolor musicals, which are a big inspiration for my shows. There weren’t that many movies that portrayed authentic burlesque, so really I based my shows from these few films and photographs from the 1940’s.
MT: You trained as a costume designer?
DVT: I started to go to school because I thought I might like to be involved with costume design. When I watched a film I liked, I was inspired to dress in vintage, and I liked to watch movies set in a different era. I liked the idea of being so meticulous in the details, I was such a historian at that point, dressing exactly to an era down to the year, and understanding the difference between clothes from 1942 as opposed to 1946. One of the reasons of I am where I am now is because of my obsession on details from a certain era. I’ve studied so many different eras that I have taken the best, and my favorites from each and created my look.
MT: The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From The Sidewalk to the Catwalk exhibition is coming to Dallas in November. You’ve worn many of his pieces before; tell me about your thoughts on his style and his revival of the corset?
DVT: I’ve walked in his show twice; the last piece that I wore was a very special corset, which will be in this exhibition. I did a lot of interviews and a film for Jean Paul Gaultier regarding this corset, and was pretty involved. This particular corset that is coming to the exhibition is an extraordinary masterpiece made for Jean Paul Gaultier by Mr. Pearl who is the most well known corset maker in the world. Universally you could sit down Jean Paul, Christian Lacroix, and John Galliano, and everyone would mutually agree that there is no one on earth that can make a corset the way that Mr. Pearl does, it’s unexplainable, he is a magician. The corset he made – we spent many, many, hours fitting it, late nights till 3am. I look forward to seeing the exhibition, I have worn many of Jean Paul’s clothes and they are just brilliant and beautiful up close.
When someone tries on a corset for the first time they understand it, what it’s about, it’s exciting and thrilling the first time, the feeling of being laced down, you don’t want to do it everyday, but it sure is a nice place to visit.
MT: If you had to change careers what would you want to do?
DVT: I shot a 12 page pictorial for Vanity Fair a few years ago and I was completely obsessed with the Art Director of the shoot, from the clothes, the make-up, and the complete styling of the photo shoot, she had a eye for everything. I create my own shows, I have no stylist, I don’t have a glam squad, and I create everything, so I would like to do her job.
MT: I love the dress you are wearing – tell me about it?
DVT: This is vintage. I am my own stylist and I like to dress in a lot of vintage. Vintage dressing is a bit like driving vintage cars, falling apart at the seams, but totally worth it.
MT: Tell me why you decided to participate with Cointreau?
DVT: I have been a Brand Ambassador for Cointreau since 2007, and this is my second signature cocktail, it is one of my favorite cocktails that I mix at home, it’s so simple, so delicious, and easy to do. Margaret Sames, who was a Dallas Socialite in the 1940’s, originally invented the margarita, so I love that it’s from the 1940’s, and that she loved to throw parties. I wanted to do a twist on the classic margarita, so we did a chipotle rose-infused margarita and called it the MargaDita, it’s a big tribute to Margaret with a petal float of the Yellow Rose of Texas.
1 oz Cointreau
1 oz Silver Tequila
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz Monin Rose Syrup
1 pinch of Chipotle Spice
Mix all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and pour into a coup glass. Garnish with the Yellow Rose of Texas. For an added kick, add a pinch of chipotle and salt rim.