Dita Von Teese seems to be in a class all her own – in an entertainment scene that seems to be ruled by stick-thin physiques and tights worn as pants, this burlesque superstar is bringing an old Hollywood sense of style to the spotlight.
Von Teese’s life seemed to start in the exact opposite way one would expect for a burlesque dancer. She was a natural blonde, born September 28, 1972 with the name Heather Renée Sweet. She was born in Michigan, but Von Teese’s Midwestern upbringing did not detract from her interest in big city glamour. From a young age she held a fascination with classic Hollywood movies, vintage lingerie, and all things retro.
Originally, Von Teese was an avid practiser of ballet and wanted to be a ballerina. While this plan fell through, her background in dancing would later help her onstage during her burlesque shows.
Inspired by past stars such as Bettie Page and Gypsy Rose Lee, Von Teese wasted no time in starting her career as soon as she was old enough. After working in a lingerie shop in high school and studying costume design in college, she picked a new name after German actress Dita Parlo.
Since turning 18, Von Teese has worked her way up from stripping to modelling to elaborate stage routines, her most famous one involving a giant martini glass.
Von Teese’s eclectic throwback style has made fans out of many prominent fashion insiders. In 2005, Vivienne Westwood custom designed a purple silk taffeta gown for Von Teese’s wedding to singer Marilyn Manson. Their ceremony was featured in the March 2006 issue of US Vogue. She also took to the runway in early 2007 for Jean Paul Gaultier’s couture show.
Dita Von Teese’s most recent projects include creating a lingerie line for Wonderbra and representing Cointreau liqueur. She still remains active onstage, taking the burlesque world by storm one giant martini glass at a time.
Images courtesy of the Fashion Spot forums.