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Dita Von Teese Talks Us Through Her Bedazzling Process

Dita Von Teese Lingerie Collection, available at Bloomingdales. Courtesy image.
Dita Von Teese Lingerie Collection, available at Bloomingdales. Courtesy image.

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Dita Von Teese knows a lot about bedazzling. Have you seen her Strip, Strip, Hooray! show? Everything sparkles. And since the burlesque superstar was in San Francisco this week to perform and to promote her signature Dita Von Teese Lingerie Collection at Bloomingdales, we decided to ask her about lingerie and cats and Swarovski crystal-crafting.

While it's not her first time designing lingerie, Dita tells us that she jumped at the chance to work with Bloomingdales on a "more sophisticated" line that would let her "turn up the volume" with higher-end laces and fabrics. Still ahead for the model and designer: Loungewear and swimwear, but probably not shoes. "Christian Louboutin is one of my best friends, and I don't think he would look too kindly on me if I started designing shoes," she tells us. "He keeps me well-heeled, so I think I'll leave the shoes to the master." Fair enough. Dita isn't tackling the shoe biz, but we still wanted to know what's happening in her life outside of show biz.

You don't have a lot of downtime when you're in San Francisco. When you have free time, what do you like to do?
"I usually spend a lot of time with my friend Autumn [Adamme] at Dark Garden. I love eating in this town. I like going to Herbivore and Millennium. I love to walk around the Haight and visit different vintage places. I go to Lang's Antiques; that's my favorite jewelry store. I love to go sightseeing. I never run out of things to do. "

Speaking of Autumn, we went to your show this week, and Murray Hill, the emcee, mentioned that Autumn made the corsets.
"She did three of the four corsets. The first one is by Mr. Pearl, who is probably the most famous corset maker in the world. She did the other three. She does the bases of the corsets, and then Catherine D'Lish does all of the design work and bead work.

We've read that you have a really active role in your stage costumes and the presentation of your shows. Do you do any of your own bedazzling?
"I have before, yes. Very much. A lot of the latest things Catherine D'lish did. But when she and I first started working together —actually, she lived here in San Francisco, so I used to spend a lot of time here with her— we used to work on the costumes together... We would do the Swarovski crystals in the rooms where the lights would make them extra-sparkly, so we would sit there watching movies and TV for hours, putting crystals on things."

What is the ideal bedazzling background show or film?
"Something funny. We used to watch this documentary that we loved. It's called Stripper, and it's about these strippers that come from all these cities in the U.S. and Canada to go to Vegas to compete for this $25,000 prize. It's interviews and kind of reality following these girls around. It's hysterical."

Do you use hot glue guns when you bedazzle?
"There's a variety of different media because different kinds of glue are required for different surfaces."

We went to Strip, Strip, Hooray! this week, and now we have 8,000 questions. Between the martini glass bath and the birdcage shower, there's a lot of wet hair. Do you wear wigs on stage?
"I do my own hair. It's all my own hair except the last number, because my hair's totally wet after the bird cage number."

How do you keep your hair healthy if you have blow dry it at least once every show?
"It's a nightmare. I should get wigs, but I really love having my own hair, I like how it moves naturally, and I like doing it myself. If I had wigs, I would have to have somebody styling the wigs. This is the way I've always done it, but I don't know that I'll always do it this way. We'll see how long my hair lasts."

On the topic of hair, we just discovered your cat, Aleister on Instagram. How do you keep cat hair off your clothes?
"A lint roller. And I try not to pick him up after I get dressed. But sometimes I'm late for events, and part of that reason is that I'll look over and my outfit that I've laid out to wear, he's lounging on it."

Who's the bigger diva? You or Aleister?
"He definitely is. Because I'm gone all day and all night working on the show, by the time I get home, he's furious. He keeps me up all night, smacks me around with his paw in the middle of the night to play. So it's been a little bit of an issue."

You're on the farewell leg of your Strip, Strip, Hooray! tour. What's next?
"We've been doing this show, as is, for quite some time now, and I want it to evolve into something else. And I'm trying to bring Strip, Strip Hooray to Europe."

Any planned vacation or down time?
"It's my birthday right when I get done, so I think I'm going to go camping."

The last time we chatted, we asked if we could be best friends, and you said no. Have you reconsidered that position?
"If we lived in the same city, it might be feasible. But I don't really like to talk on the phone."

Phones are the worst.
"So that's the problem. But if we lived in the same city…"

We could bedazzle stuff?
"Oh, yeah. I'll put you to work bedazzling."
· Dita Von Teese Collection [Bloomingdales]
· Five Ways to Get Your Dita Von Teese Shopping Fix [Racked]
· Exclusive: Dita Von Teese Wants to Get In Your Lingerie Drawer [Racked]