Dita’s 12 Favourite Things

Femme fatales have a new bible, “Burlesque and the Art of the Teese,” by new-age striptease artist (or if you prefer, burlesque revivalist) Dita Von Teese. The book offers up such helpful hints as: Always adjust your garter in front of your man, but make it look as though you’re attempting to do it discreetly. Von Teese was in Chicago recently, performing at Ikram boutique’s 5th anniversary party. The crowd was captivated by the lacquered beauty’s waspish 16-inch waist (22 inches sans corset) and retro-glam ensemble, which she gradually discarded while performing inside a 4-foot-tall martini glass. Corporations all over the world book Von Teese’s act at up to $50,000 a show, but she reveals that it’s Londoners who really boost her frequent flier miles. “The English are so uptight. I make them nervous and they like that,” she says, laughing. At home she’s just like the rest of us though, spending cozy family time in L.A. with her husband, shock rocker Marilyn Manson. “It’s not like he’s always running around the house yelling like a rock star. Well, sometimes he is,” admits Von Teese. The former Heather Sweet of Rochester, Mich., Von Teese spent her teenage years collecting vintage lingerie the way some girls accumulate stuffed animals. “What I do onstage is a reflection of what I’ve been interested in since I was a little girl,” she says. Fascinated by pinup stars, Von Teese became an authority on the history of burlesque. “Everyone romanticizes burlesque, making the strippers seem like saints. They weren’t,” she says affectionately.

1. Lilacs, violets: I grew up in a home that was surrounded by lilac trees. And I adore the scent of violets.

2. Stephen Jones hats: He makes hats for Dior couture and nearly every major designer.

3. Brasserie Lipp in Paris: I go there for my favorite dessert–a mound of whipped egg whites with a caramelized burnt sugar crust.

4. Bespoke Wedgwood: With our wedding monogram.

5. Moschino, John Galliano, Roland Mouret, Nina Ricci, Rodarte: I couldn’t choose one, but I own more Moschino than anything else.

6. 1939 Chrysler New Yorker: I have had this car since the early ’90s. I bought it to drive out to the swing dance clubs.

7. Betty Grable: My favorite movie star of the 1940s. I loved the Technicolor musicals and she was the queen of them. I am more influenced by her than any other star or by burlesque itself.

8. Champagne with a splash of violet: I buy violet and rose liqueurs at Fauchon in Paris.

9. Freeze-dried pineapple: Healthy, super sweet.

10. Mariage Freres tea: No coffee!

11. Max Raabe: He played at our wedding and is the world’s finest ’30s-style musician.

12. Pink KitchenAid mixer: My kitchen is pink and black boudoir style with big Swarovski crystal chandeliers.

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