Dita Von Teese, The Parisian Showgirl

Ever wondered who buys those back-seam stockings? Sitting poised in her vintage-inspired hoisery, Dita Von Teese is exactly the sort of glamour puss that most likely has shares in them.
With the air of a Hollywood star from a bygone age, Dita arrives in the grand setting of the Hotel Raphael in Paris creating audible gasps as she saunters down the corridor.

The 37-year-old appears unflappable until I compliment her sky-high Louboutin heels and she curses the chewing gum stuck to the red sole.

"I got gum on my Louboutin!” she says.

Phew, she's human.

J'adore Paris

Dita currently leads a double life, splitting her time between LA and France.

"Being in Paris has made me appreciate the good things about both LA and here. Everything here is a new challenge for me."

Croissants and macaroons aren't the only thing that prompted Dita to embrace Parisian culture. She is currently stepping out with French aristocrat, Count Louis Marie de Castelbajac, 11 years her junior.

"I think I've always wanted to live here but the thing that pushed me to actually do it was having a Parisian boyfriend," she smiles.

Her hectic work schedule and plane hopping prove no obstacle in the couple's blooming 'amour'.

"We've never been more than a few weeks apart. When you believe in it, it's fine. I'll go to the ends of the earth, that's just the way that I am," she says candidly.

Fashioning an image

Dita describes her recognisable style as "pin-up meets femme fatale, with little touches of fetishism disguised in elegant ways". Cue those seamed stockings.

Even her raven tresses are dyed religiously every week-and-a-half with a DIY kit.

"I just buy that $8 box of hair colour and do it myself," she says. “I don't really like to be at the mercy of hair and make-up people, or stylists."

Dita's make-up routine must be well-practised. She rarely steers away from the 'red lip, cat eyeliner' combo that's become her trademark and confesses to a stash of "hundreds" of lipsticks in varying shades of red.

"I like that with clothes, hair, and make-up you can become whoever you want to be.

The showgirl

Dita is arguably the face - and body - of burlesque's modern day reinvention, but making the transition from pin-up poster girl to ultimate showgirl was by no means easy. She has almost 20 years of performing under her garter belt today.

With 'that' hourglass body being in the spotlight more than most of her red carpet peers, she admits there's a pressure to watch her much revered figure.

"I think people build you up to take you down and of course I am always thinking about that. I'm not 22, I'm 37, and it's important for me to maintain my shape."

Dita makes no secret of the fact she has had surgery on her breasts and, with the help of corsets, her usual 53cm waist shrinks to just 41cm.

Business of burlesque

"My abilities are beyond just how great I look in a G-string," she says defensively.

"I'm not the youngest, prettiest, best dancer. The reason that I'm good at what I do is because I put on a good show.”

Although she lovingly describes burlesque as "her number one", Dita has her business head on fronting campaigns for other projects.

She's just put the finishing touches to her 'Cointreau Teese' cocktail. She's also hand-picked her favourite elegant bars around the world it will be served in.

But despite her passion for the self-made cocktail, it's unlikely you'll ever see paparazzi shots of Dita Von Teese tumbling into a taxi.

"There's never been anything on record of me having to be carried out or stumbling drunk out of a bar," she laughs. "I totally believe in the elegance of enjoying cocktails and savouring the moment."

By Lisa Haynes

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