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Stripping her way to high fashion

Annette Padyk | Interrobang | Lifestyles | April 7th, 2008

In the recent Us Weekly magazine, I came across an article on the, famous for her curve and porcelain skin, Dita Von Teese, and I couldn't help but be intrigued by the article.

Von Teese's real name is Heather Sweet, and she has picked the name “Dita Von Teese” as her stripper name when she was 18-years-old. In my opinion she is the definition of ‘couture fashion.'

Known best for her signature red lips, blushed cheek and black hair (which is naturally blond) that she dyes herself, Von Teese's individual look inspired by '40s and '50s era fashion has gotten the attention of MAC cosmetics, which recently named her a Viva Glam spokeswomen.

Von Teese has a fitting resume consisting of experience as a ballerina from a young age, and at the age of fifteen she worked in a lingerie store. She is also trained as a costume designer, as she studied historic costuming in college. At the age of 19, Von Teese started working as a stripper, but became bored with the lack of originality in everyone's act and the artist appeal she was looking for just wasn't there. She finally found her calling as the ‘Queen of Burlesque' after a few Playboy covers. Single handily, Von Tesse has brought the spotlight back onto the art of Burlesque shows.

Burlesque, in simpler terms, is more focused on the “tease” than the “strip” in “striptease.” It also incorporates modern dance to theatrical mini-dramas. Von Teese, specifically, is known for her retro old- Hollywood style shows. One of her unique shows, which features a giant martini glass, was parodied in the movie Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle.

Apart from her risqué Burlesque shows, Von Teese is also a writer, performer, model and actress (only if she finds the role “aesthetically correct”). She is a muse of many fashion designers such as Jean Paul Gautier, Christian Dior and Vivienne Westwood, and has topped several international best-dressed lists. Von Teese also caught the eye of musician Marilyn Mason, although they were only married for two years and are now divorced. It was rumored she wore purple to her wedding.

In spring 2009, Von Teese is releasing a book on her transformation as a girl- woman- Queen of Burlesque to Fashion Icon. She has said to take a whopping 90 minutes to get ready and to get her make-up to her own liking.

“I enjoy the ritual, I get a sense of accomplishment knowing I don't need a whole team,” the performer has been quoted as saying. Von Teese's artist mind and fashion taste is beyond her years, will keep her top spot in fashion for years to come.
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