Dita Von Teese

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Dita Von Teese
Dita Von Teese at Cannes 2007.jpg
Von Teese at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival
Born Heather Renée Sweet
(1972-09-28) September 28, 1972 (age 42)
Rochester, Michigan, U.S.
Occupation Burlesque dancer, model, costume designer, author, actress, singer, entrepreneur
Spouse(s) Marilyn Manson (m. 2005–07)
Website
www.dita.net

Dita Von Teese (born Heather Renée Sweet;[1] September 28, 1972) is an American burlesque dancer, model, costume designer, entrepreneur and occasional actress.[2] She is thought to have helped re-popularize burlesque performance[3] and was once married to Marilyn Manson.[4]

Early life[edit]

Von Teese was born in Rochester, Michigan, the middle of three daughters in a middle-class family.[5] Her father was a machinist and her mother a manicurist.[5][6] She is of English, Scottish, Armenian and German heritage.[7] Dita later clarified that one of her grandmothers was half-Armenian and adopted into an Anglo-Saxon American family.[8] Von Teese is known for her fascination with 1940s cinema and classic vintage style. This began at a young age and was fostered by her mother, who would buy clothes for her daughter to dress up in. Her mother was a fan of old, Golden Age-era Hollywood films, and it was from her that Von Teese developed a fascination with the actresses of that day, especially Betty Grable.

She was classically trained as a ballet dancer from an early age, and danced solo at age thirteen for a local ballet company. Though she originally wanted to be a ballerina, Von Teese states that "by 15, I was as good as I’d ever be."[6] She was later to incorporate this element into her burlesque shows, where she frequently goes en pointe. The family relocated from Michigan to Orange County, California, when her father's job moved.[5] Von Teese attended University High School in Irvine.[9]

When Von Teese was a teenager, her mother took her to buy her first bra, made from plain white cotton, and gave her a plastic egg containing a pair of wrinkly, flesh-colored tights.[9] Von Teese says she was disappointed as she had been hoping to receive beautiful lacy garments and stockings, of the type she had glimpsed in her father's Playboy magazines. This fueled her passion for lingerie. She worked in a lingerie store as a salesgirl when she was fifteen, eventually as a buyer. Von Teese has been fond of wearing elaborate lingerie such as corsets and basques with fully fashioned stockings ever since. In college, Von Teese studied historic costuming and aspired to work as a stylist for films. She is a trained costume designer, often designing (and copyrighting) her photo shoots herself.[10]

Career[edit]

Von Teese got her stage name by adopting the name Dita as a tribute to silent film actress Dita Parlo. For her breakthrough 2002 Playboy cover, she was required to have a surname, so she chose Von Treese from the phonebook. In the magazine, this was misspelled as Von Teese, which she decided to stick with.[11]

Fetish and glamour modeling[edit]

Von Teese achieved some level of recognition in the fetish world as a tightlacer. Through the wearing of a corset for many years, she had reduced her waistline to 22 inches (56 cm), and can be laced down as far as 16.5 inches (42 cm).[12]

Von Teese appeared on a number of fetish magazine covers, including Bizarre[13] and Marquis.[14] It was around this time when she appeared on the cover of Midori's book, The Seductive Art of Japanese Bondage.[15] Von Teese was featured in Playboy in 1999, 2001 and 2002, with a cover-featured pictorial in 2002. The German metal band Atrocity chose her as the cover model for their 2008 album, Werk 80 II.[16]

Burlesque[edit]

Von Teese is a prominent Neo-Burlesque performer

Von Teese is best known for her burlesque routines and is frequently dubbed the "Queen of Burlesque" in the press.[17][18] Von Teese began performing burlesque in 1992, and, as a proponent of New Burlesque, has helped to popularize its revival.[19] In her own words, she "puts the tease back into striptease" with long, elaborate dance shows with props and characters, often inspired by 1930s and 1940s musicals and films. Some of her more famous dances have involved a carousel horse, a giant powder compact, a filigree heart and a clawfoot bathtub with a working shower head. Her signature show features a giant martini glass. Her feather fan dance, inspired by burlesque dancer Sally Rand, featured the world's largest feather fans, now on display in Hollywood's Museum of Sex.[20]

Her burlesque career has included some memorable performances. She once appeared at a benefit for the New York Academy of Art wearing nothing but $5 million worth of diamonds.[21] Additionally, Von Teese became the first guest star at Paris's Crazy Horse cabaret club with her appearance in October 2006.[22] Also in 2006, Von Teese appeared on an episode of America's Next Top Model (cycle 7) doing a workshop to teach the contestants about sexiness by means of burlesque dancing and posing. In 2007 Von Teese performed at the adult entertainment event Erotica 07 in London alongside Italian rock band Belladonna.

Von Teese's first book (in collaboration with Bronwyn Garrity), which consisted of her opinions on the history of burlesque and fetish, Burlesque and the Art of the Teese / Fetish and the Art of the Teese, was published in 2006 by HarperCollins (and in New York by Regan Books). Vanity Fair called her a "Burlesque Superheroine".

Von Teese participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 2009 in Moscow, Russia, as part of the stage performance for the German entry "Miss Kiss Kiss Bang". The act placed 20th out of 25 participants in the final round of the contest.[23] Later, she said her cleavage was censored during the show because it was too voluptuous.[24]

Acting[edit]

Von Teese is also an occasional actress. In her early years she appeared in fetish-related, soft-core pornographic movies, such as Romancing Sara, Matter of Trust, in which she is billed as Heather Sweet, and also in two Andrew Blake hard-core fetish films, Pin Ups 2[25] and Decadence.

In recent years she has appeared in more mainstream features, such as the 2005 short film, The Death of Salvador Dali, written by Delaney Bishop, which won best screenplay and best cinematography at recent festivals, including SXSW, Raindance Film Festival and Mill Valley Film Festival, and won Best Actress at Beverly Hills Film Festival. She starred in the feature film Saint Francis in 2007.[26]

In addition, she has appeared in a number of music videos, including the video for the Green Day song "Redundant,"[27] the video for "Zip Gun Bop" by swing band Royal Crown Revue, Agent Provocateur's video for their cover of Joy Division's "She's Lost Control," and (performing her martini-glass burlesque routine) the video for "Mobscene" by Marilyn Manson.[28] She was featured in a striptease/burlesque act in George Michael's live tour 2008, for the song "Feelin' Good".[29] She also appeared in the music video "Up in the Air" by Thirty Seconds to Mars in 2013.

She has expressed that acting is not at the top of her agenda and she would only take roles that she feels are right for her, stating in 2007, "I don't understand why women feel the need to go into acting as soon as they become famous ... But I suppose if the part were aesthetically correct, then maybe I could consider it."[30]

In January 2011, Von Teese guest-starred in the CBS police procedural drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, in which her friend Eric Szmanda stars, in the episode "A Kiss Before Frying". She played Rita von Squeeze, a femme fatale version of herself, who seduces Szmanda's character Greg Sanders in a plot inspired by film noir.[31]

Fashion and modeling[edit]

Von Teese on the catwalk at The Heart Truth in February 2011

Von Teese has appeared on a number of best-dressed lists[32] and frequents the front row of fashion shows, particularly Christian Dior, Vivienne Westwood, Jean Paul Gaultier and Marc Jacobs, labels she is often seen wearing. Speaking of her love of Gaultier, Von Teese has said, "Jean Paul Gaultier, John Galliano and Vivienne Westwood were the first designers that really made an impact on me. Jean Paul has a lot of the same obsessions that I do, like corsetry, ballet-peach satin and silks, black silk velvet, bullet bras and girdles. When I was a teenager, I would look for 1930s peach satin lingerie pieces to try to get his look for less, because there was no way I could afford his things back then. It was a dream come true to meet him and become friends with him. I met him the first time when I was doing my first fashion pictorial, which was for Flaunt magazine, and it was a huge story of me wearing the most important pieces from his haute couture archives, and that was a dream!" [33]

She has also done catwalk work. During Los Angeles Fashion Week for spring 2004, she modeled for former club kid Richie Rich's fashion label, Heatherette. In 2005 she appeared in the Autumn/Winter Ready-to-Wear show for Giambattista Valli, a former designer for Ungaro, in Paris. In the 2006 Milan Fashion Week, Von Teese was on the runway, opening for the Moschino diffusion label, Moschino Cheap & Chic, autumn/winter 2006/7 show. In 2007, she appeared twice in the Jean Paul Gaultier haute couture show during the Paris Fashion Week. She has starred in several ad campaigns. She appeared in Vivienne Westwood's spring/summer 2005 collection adverts and became the face of Australian clothing range "Wheels and Dollbaby" for their 2006/7 Spring/Summer advertising campaign. She was an ambassador/spokesmodel for HIV/AIDS awareness when she was selected (along with Eve, Deborah Harry, and Lisa Marie Presley) for MAC Cosmetics' Viva Glam VI campaign (a collection of lipsticks and lipgloss where 100% of the proceeds are for worldwide AIDS charities and to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS). Von Teese has appeared in Vanity Fair, Vogue, Elle,[34] and international issues of nearly every fashion magazine. She has campaigned on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and has appeared in their ads. She participated at the PETA's campaign "Animal Birth Control (ABC)."[35]

In spite of this, Von Teese states that she never uses a stylist. "The one time I hired a stylist, they picked up a pair of my 1940s shoes and said, 'These would look really cute with jeans.' I immediately said, 'You’re out of here.'" She does her own make-up, and dyes her naturally blonde hair black at home.[6] Von Teese's unique style is "inspired by eccentric women like Luisa Casati, Anna Piaggi, and Isabella Blow."[36]

She has designed a new lingerie range with Wonderbra.[37] In May 2012, Dita Von Teese launched her makeup collection "Classics" in partnership with the German cosmetic brand Art Deco. Compact powder, blushers, eye styler, eye shadows, mascara and lipstick were produced to recreate the burlesque performer's retro look.[36]

In 2012 Dita Von Teese launched her own clothing line[38] and underwear line called Von Follies.[39][40] In 2013 Dita was both model and muse for the 'Dita' 3D printed gown designed by Michael Schmidt and Francis Bitonti and 3D printed by Shapeways exactly to fit her body.[41] Constructed of over 3,000 interlocked 3D printed components and over 12,000 Swarovski crystals it is one of the first fully articulated 3D printed garments to take the technology from haute couture to a sensual fabric-like form.[42]

Personal life[edit]

Dita frequently takes Pilates and dressage lessons. Her house is dedicated to early 20th-century decor, including a complete pink kitchen with vintage appliances. She also has a room dedicated to hats.[5]

Von Teese currently resides in Hollywood, California.[43][44] She is a collector of vintage china, particularly eggcups and tea sets,[45] and drives a 1939 Packard One Twenty Eight, a 1946 Ford Super De Luxe,[46] a BMW Z4 and a 1965 Jaguar S-type.[47] She also owned a 1939 Chrysler New Yorker from 1997 to December 2010.[48]

Prior to her marriage to Marilyn Manson, she was romantically linked to vocalist/guitarist Mike Ness of Social Distortion[49] and to actor Peter Sarsgaard.[50] She has also spoken of several same-sex experiences, including a serious relationship with a woman when she was 20.[51] She also dated French aristocrat Louis-Marie de Castelbajac[52]

Marriage to Marilyn Manson[edit]

Marilyn Manson had been a longtime fan of hers and was a member of her website. They first met when he asked her to dance in one of his music videos and though she was unable to, the two remained in contact. On Manson's 32nd birthday, in 2001,[53] she arrived with a bottle of absinthe and they became a couple. Manson proposed on March 22, 2004 and gave her a 1930s, 7-carat (1.4 g), European round-cut diamond engagement ring. On November 28, 2005, they were married in a private, non-denominational ceremony at home. A larger ceremony was held on December 3 at Gurteen Castle in Kilsheelan (County Tipperary), Ireland, the home of their friend, Gottfried Helnwein. The wedding was officiated by surrealist film director and comic book writer Alejandro Jodorowsky and appeared as a feature in the pages of Vogue.

On December 29, 2006, Von Teese filed for divorce from Manson citing "irreconcilable differences."[54] Von Teese left their house empty-handed on Christmas Eve, and was not able to get in touch with Manson to inform him of her intention to divorce him. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Von Teese stated, "I wasn't supportive of his partying or his relationship with another girl. As much as I loved him I wasn't going to be part of that." Von Teese also stated that she gave Manson an ultimatum, and said that "it didn't work. Instead it made me the enemy."[43] Von Teese did not seek spousal support and seemed to have no interest in his assets.[54] The news broke for the public and for Manson on his birthday on January 5, 2007, when he was served the divorce papers.

Filmography[edit]

Film
Year Title Role Notes
1995 Romancing Sara Allison Credited as Heather Sweet
1997 Matter of Trust Girl with C.T. Credited as Heather Sweet
1999 Pin-Ups 2
2000 Decadence
2001 Tickle Party: Volume 2
2001 Slick City: The Adventures of Lela Devin Lela Devin Also executive producer
2002 Bound in Stockings
2002 Naked and Helpless
2004 Blooming Dahlia Elizabeth Curt Short film
2005 Death of Salvador Dali, TheThe Death of Salvador Dali Gala Dalí Short film
Won Best Female Performance at the Beverly Hills Film Festival
2007 Saint Francis Soul, Pica Bernard
2007 High on Heels
2007 Indie Sex Herself Documentary
2010 Crazy Horse Paris with Dita Von Teese Herself Documentary
2012 Sunset Strip Herself Documentary
2012 Bettie Page Reveals All Herself Documentary
Television
Year Title Role Notes
2006 America's Next Top Model Herself Episode: "The Girl Who Graduates"
2006 Faking It Herself Episode: "Burlesque Special"
2010 RuPaul's Drag Race Herself Guest judge; episode: "Starrbootylicious"
2011 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Ellen Whitebridge/Agnes/Rita von Squeeze Episode: "A Kiss Before Frying"
2012 Top Chef Masters Herself Guest judge; episode: "Thai One On"
Music videos
Year Title Artist(s)
2003 "mOBSCENE" Marilyn Manson
2013 "Disintegration" Monarchy featuring Dita Von Teese
2013 "Up in the Air" Thirty Seconds to Mars

Writings[edit]

  • Von Teese, Dita; Garrity, Bronwyn (2006). Burlesque and the Art of the Teese: Fetish and the art of the teese. New York: Regan Books. ISBN 0060591676. 

Music singles[edit]

  • Monarchy – "Disintegration"; featuring Dita Von Teese (2013)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mackenzie, James (January 22, 2009). "Striptease queen Dita von Teese back at Paris revue". Reuters. Retrieved January 25, 2009. 
  2. ^ Werle, Simone (2009). Fashionista: A Century of Style Icons. Prestel. p. 170. 
  3. ^ Willson, Jacki (December 15, 2007). The Happy Stripper: Pleasures and Politics of the New Burlesque. I.B.Tauris. p. 14. ISBN 978-1-84511-318-6. Retrieved January 29, 2013. 
  4. ^ Gale Biography in Context (2009)
  5. ^ a b c d McLean, Craig (September 20, 2008). "Dita von Teese's naked ambition". The Times (London). Retrieved September 20, 2008. 
  6. ^ a b c West, Naomi (June 3, 2006). "Art of the Teese". Telegraph.co.uk (London). Retrieved February 17, 2007. 
  7. ^ Official Twitter. Twitter.com (July 15, 2013). Retrieved on August 22, 2011.
  8. ^ "My grandmother was half Armenian – exclusive interview with Dita Von Teese". style.news.am. Retrieved February 10, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Nguyen, Katherine (April 6, 2006). "Dita von Teese: Call her old-fashioned". ocregister.com. Retrieved February 17, 2007. 
  10. ^ Dizon, Kristen (February 12, 2004). "Burlesque is Back". seattlepi.com. Retrieved March 24, 2007. 
  11. ^ Nguyen, Katherine (April 5, 2006). "Dita Von Teese: Call her old-fashioned". The Orange County Register. Orange County Register Communications. Retrieved September 2, 2012. 
  12. ^ More Teese if you please, Yorkshire Evening Post, October 20, 2006. Accessed November 5, 2011.
  13. ^ Hodges, Kate (July 6, 2008). "Viva La Dita!". Dennis Publishing. Retrieved February 17, 2007. 
  14. ^ Dita Von Teese – Credits and Appearances. Dita.net. Retrieved on August 22, 2011.
  15. ^ dage-by-midori-2002/ The Seductive Art of Japanese Bondage by Midori (2002) « pocket venus: dita von teese. Pocketvenus.wordpress.com (March 5, 2008). Retrieved on August 22, 2011.
  16. ^ Ex-Marilyn Manson featured on Atrocity cover. Side-line.com (February 22, 1999). Retrieved on August 22, 2011.
  17. ^ Maynard, Melissa (June 1, 2005). "My Fashion Life: Dita Von Teese". Vogue.com. Archived from the original on May 3, 2007. Retrieved May 25, 2007. 
  18. ^ Créac'h, Isabelle-Marie. "Woman of Global Style: Dita Von Teese". Vogue.com. Archived from the original on March 9, 2007. Retrieved March 20, 2007. 
  19. ^ Epstein, Daniel Robert (March 10, 2006). "Suicide Girls Interview". Tribe.net. Retrieved March 19, 2007. 
  20. ^ "Dita Von Teese – Shows and Performances". Dita.net. Retrieved May 28, 2007. 
  21. ^ Diamonds Are a Queen's Best Friend, Queerty, October 18, 2005. Accessed November 5, 2011.
  22. ^ DITA VON TEESE PERFORMS AT THE LEGENDARY CRAZY HORSE DE PARIS[dead link]
  23. ^ Burlesque star in German line-up. Esctoday.com. Retrieved on August 22, 2011.
  24. ^ Von Teese: 'Eurovision censors picked on me' – Showbiz News. Digital Spy (October 2, 2009). Retrieved on August 22, 2011. She has just wrapped up her 2012 tour of "Strip Strip Hooray", where she performed some of her famously known acts such as "a Guy who takes his time", Compact act, Cowgirl act, and her famous Japanese-inspired act.
  25. ^ Dita Von Teese Lesbian Sex Video Surfaces. Thenewsvault.com. Retrieved on August 22, 2011.
  26. ^ Saint Francis (2007). IMDb.com
  27. ^ "Didja Know: Useless Green Day facts". The Green Day Authority. Retrieved February 17, 2007. 
  28. ^ Fischer, Blair R. "Sweet (wet) dreams are Made of this: Marilyn Manson snaps nudes of modern-day fetish queen/girlfriend Dita von Teese". Playboy. Retrieved February 17, 2007. 
  29. ^ Dita von Teese and George Michael live in Madison Square Garden, August 24, 2008. Youtube.com (August 24, 2008). Retrieved on August 22, 2011.
  30. ^ Isaby, Jonathan. "Spy: Not an Act". Telegraph (London). Archived from the original on October 25, 2007. Retrieved May 27, 2007. 
  31. ^ Retrieved March 14, 2012. Tv.com. Retrieved on 2014-02-11.
  32. ^ Dita Von Teese, Factio Magazine. Accessed November 5, 2011.
  33. ^ Real Style Magazine – Winter 2013. Realstylenetwork.com. Retrieved on February 11, 2014.
  34. ^ Väisänen, Annika Suvi Johanna (January 2009). "Dita Von Teesen Tyylivinkit". Elle Finland. 
  35. ^ Dita for Peta's ABC campaign
  36. ^ a b Schroeder, Amy and Han, Constanze Lyndsay (December 1, 2007). "Dita Von Teese the Showgirl". Venuszine.com. Retrieved July 13, 2009. 
  37. ^ Dita von Teese named new Wonderbra model, The Telegraph, January 21, 2008. Accessed November 5, 2011.
  38. ^ Alexander, Ella (December 10, 2012). "Dita Von Teese On Dresses Collection". Vogue. Retrieved December 16, 2012. 
  39. ^ Alexander, Ella (November 30, 2012). "Dita Von Teese Lingerie Exclusive". Vogue. Retrieved December 16, 2012. 
  40. ^ Alexander, Ella (March 9, 2012). "Lingerie Teese". Vogue. Retrieved December 16, 2012. 
  41. ^ Revealing Dita Von Teese in a Fully Articulated 3D Printed Gown – Shapeways Blog on 3D Printing News & Innovation. Shapeways.com (March 5, 2013). Retrieved on February 11, 2014.
  42. ^ Shapiro, David. (March 5, 2013) The Dimensions of Design – WSJ.com. Online.wsj.com. Retrieved on February 11, 2014.
  43. ^ a b Cutter, Kimberly (April 22, 2007). "Educating Dita". The Sunday Telegraph (London). Retrieved April 22, 2007. 
  44. ^ "Dita Von Teese: Stripteese". SuicideGirls.com. December 18, 2009. Retrieved December 23, 2009. 
  45. ^ "Dita's Vintage Obsession". exposay.com. December 27, 2006. Retrieved March 24, 2007. 
  46. ^ Johnson, Graham (November 2011) Driving With Dita Von Teese. heavy.com
  47. ^ Dita Von Teese – Biographical Information. Dita.net. Retrieved on August 22, 2011.
  48. ^ Dita Von Teese’s 1939 Chrysler New Yorker Sold For (3,403. Streetlegaltv.com (December 23, 2010). Retrieved on August 22, 2011.
  49. ^ "Dita: Manson is Wonderful". contactmusic.com. October 10, 2003. Retrieved February 17, 2007. 
  50. ^ "Dita has explosive sex". The Sun Online (London). Retrieved February 17, 2007. [dead link]
  51. ^ Greenstreet, Rosanna (November 2, 2006). "Q&A: Dita Von Teese". Guardian Unlimited (London). Retrieved February 17, 2007. 
  52. ^ Dita Von Teese and boyfriend Louis-Marie de Castelbajac in Paris Daily Celebrity Photos – Glamour.com (Glamour.com UK). Glamourmagazine.co.uk (March 9, 2011). Retrieved on August 22, 2011.
  53. ^ "Marilyn Manson Marries Girlfriend in Ireland". People. December 4, 2005. Retrieved August 31, 2014. 
  54. ^ a b "Rock star Manson set to divorce". BBC News. January 6, 2007. Retrieved February 17, 2007. 

External links[edit]