Dita Von Teese on Her First-Ever Streaming Burlesque Show and Secrets of Eternal Beauty


It’s a scene from Botticelli Birth of Venus– if the goddess in the shell was supplanted by a movie star of the 40s played by a burlesque queen of today. that’s how Dita Von Teese first takes the stage in The night of the tees, its immersive filmed showcase which broadcasts for three days from October 1. As a mist slowly rises over an enormous bronze flapper, the striptease artist holds court in a two-part frame of Swarovski crystals, swaying languidly to a tune titled “Sleepy Lagoon”. The camera dives near the bottom edge of the bivalve, taking a ballet leg extension bathed in amber light. Off comes a cape, followed by a jeweled bra, revealing a more delicate number underneath. Von Teese moves like satin in the air, giving the impression of a time shift to another era, while also raising the question of his own deadly envelope. (With a birthday this week, she is now 49.) Her physique invites wonder. Is it God? Is it the man? Do I ever have to make an appointment with this man? All the while, as she throws a pearly white wingspan balloon into the air, Von Teese coolly maintains control: aware of the audience on the other side of the screen, but never mind. not caring. Then, as if to signal the curtain: Pop! goes the ball.

“How does it feel to walk around the stage?” How does it feel to be so close that you can see all the details? Von Teese said by phone from Paris, explaining how she and the director Quinn Wilson, with production by Derivative, addressed the unconventional filming of this multi-performer event. It is hardly a static recording of a theater performance. Because there are no spectators – except Von Teese herself with opera binoculars, seen watching her friends’ acts from a house seat, between her own stripes – Stylized teases in a birdcage and champagne glass – the camera has carte blanche. Everything is possible, from unobstructed wide-angle views and mesmerizing close-ups to a voyeuristic behind-the-scenes tour.

Wilson, who started his career as Lizzomakeup artist from before overseeing the musician’s creative direction, has become a singular voice in the music video space, with plans for Ziwe and King princess. The world of glittery pastries was a new avenue for the director, but “I loved Quinn’s enthusiasm for burlesque,” says Von Teese, who recognized Wilson’s sense of humor and palpable respect for artists in his work. “She has the feeling of whimsy, and I love that she likes all the same performers” – a mix here that includes the tassel ride Dirty Martini, Marawa with its many hoops, Fictional Frankie, Vontourage, Jett Adore, and Black Pearl with his tribute to his predecessors like Josephine Baker. (The production and travel constraints during the pandemic inherently reduced the scope, so “we couldn’t have all the performers, all the performance that I wanted to have,” Von Teese adds. “I still hope we can. do a series together like this because there are so many unreturned stones. ”)

From left to right: Marawa in orbit. Perle Noire, making its return on stage in The night of the tees.

For Von Teese, a woman whose self-presentation is so impeccably executed, it makes sense that she waited such a moment to make her screen debut. (She’s not the only one: she’s in Paris for the next French version of Dance with the stars with jean paul Gaultier among the judges; while we talk, Christian Louboutin give her a ring. “I’ll call him back. We worry about my ballroom dancing shoes because they are so ugly! “) The three-day execution period for The night of the tees carries with her the feeling of an event, although Von Teese has to correct herself when she calls it a livestream. “It’s a streaming EventShe says of the 45-minute film. (There’s also a bonus Dita beauty tutorial, as well as a lesson on tassels from Dirty Martini.) The same goes for Von Teese in the conversation, below, talking about her pandemic dress-up fashion, d ‘a revealing beauty discovery and taboos – about aging and cosmetic adjustments – that she’s happy to leave behind.

Vanity Fair: With this special and Dancing with the stars in mind, what is your background in dance?

Dita Von Teese: My dance training is that of a very poor ballet dancer. I have danced ballet since I was five years old, I always liked it. I dreamed of being a ballerina, but I have always been the flower in Nutcracker in the back because I don’t remember the choreography. I have a really good car and all of those things that are the hallmarks of a good dancer, but I just wasn’t cut out for it. But if I had been a successful ballet dancer, I wouldn’t have thought of stripping. So that’s a total of lemons in lemonade.

When did you first return to the stage after the start of the pandemic?

This special is exactly that! In fact, it’s not true: I made an appearance in the next one Harry Styles and Olivia wilde movie, Don’t worry darling. I filmed this last November.

It’s funny. How did you get hooked on this project?

Well, [costume designer] Arianne phillips is involved in this movie and – I don’t want to say too much about what I’m doing in it – but it fits so perfectly. They said they must have me. It couldn’t be someone else. So it was really fun and exciting, but also intimidating after not playing. In many ways, whenever I don’t play for very long I’m sure I’ll never be able to do it again. It’s a weird thing: the only time I get any version of stage fright is feeling rusty, like, “I can’t remember what to do.” And then of course the lights come on and the curtains open and it’s like being on a roller coaster. There’s that excitement, and at the end, I say, “Are you okay?” I was fine. I am not too confident.

It’s totally relatable, but also interesting to hear it from you, because you’ve created this whole world that feels so empowered.

I like to have a good dose of self-doubt, or “I can probably do better than that.” It wasn’t my best. I’m sure you’ve spoken to a lot of artists of all types; I sat next to a huge movie star telling me, “I can’t watch my movies. I think I am horrible. I am the same way. I have to force myself to watch myself on video, to criticize myself. I don’t have that thing in me that’s like, “I’m going to watch how amazing I am.” I do not do it. It’s brutal for me.

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