Some people remember her for her short marriage to the rock singer, Marilyn Manson. Fans of Manson’s will even recall that she appeared in some of his music videos.
Others remember Dita Von Teese for her December 2002 cover of Playboy on which she illustrated “tightlacing,” the wearing of a corset so tightly laced that an immediate and dramatic reduction in waist size, often by as much four or more inches, is achieved.
Von Teese is particularly known by fans familiar with the theatrical form of burlesque in which bawdy comedy and the “art of striptease” feature prominently. Popular during the 1930s to the 1960s, burlesque has seen a resurgence of interest since the 1990s, and Dita Von Teese has become the biggest name in that world since Gypsy Rose Lee. Some credit her with modernizing the form by bringing elegance and sophistication to what could otherwise be cheap, tasteless and tawdry. Indeed, many of her costumes are the result of collaborations with famous designers such as John Galliano for Christian Dior, Christian Louboutin, and others. She has appeared at high-profile events for Louis Vuitton, Cartier, and at The Cannes Film Festival, and in 2020, she walked the runway for Jean Paul Gaultier’s final Haute Couture show.
Von Teese has her critics, but to them Dita says, “Some people say what I do isn’t very liberating. I say it’s pretty liberating to get $20,000 for 10 minutes work.”
So what does this larger-than-life personality have in common with the likes of Princess Margaret, Pablo Picasso, Queen Victoria, and Helen Keller?
Her dogs, Ava and Greta, are, respectively, a longhaired and a black and tan smooth, and whatever else anyone thinks about Dita’s chosen profession, her drive to rise above her humble beginnings and business acumen show an intelligence worthy of a smart breed.