From her crimson lips to her perfectly coiffed pressed waves, burlesque queen and red-carpet fixture Dita Von Teese has never been caught in an “off-duty” moment—not even while exiting her beloved Pilates class.
In her forthcoming tome, Your Beauty Mark: The Ultimate Guide to Eccentric Glamour, the self-styled star reveals not only a bevy of how-to secrets, but also her contemporary outlook and rare realness on the subject: “My book is for people who enjoy breaking the beauty rules and changing them, and not being ashamed to say that they like something the way that they like it,” she says. Here, the self-described “glamour evangelist” lets us in on her beauty inspirations and tried-and-true products.
What’s your beauty mark, so to speak? I’d like to think I’ve made my beauty mark on other women who may have discovered the power of glamour through me. I personally didn’t have many modern role models of beauty that I could relate to, so I looked to icons of the Golden Age of Glamour in the 1940s. I am an ordinary blond girl from Michigan, and so I try to inspire others that they can create glamour themselves too.
What were you most reluctant to reveal in your book? I wasn’t really reluctant to reveal anything for the readers; I think that it’s open and honest! The cosmetic surgery section was tough, because it is such a touchy subject for people, and I wanted it to be rich with different perspectives, so I have a few of my friends and trusted experts weighing in along with my own opinions.
Who do you look up to the most as a beauty icon and why? I look up to Carmen Dell’Orefice very much; we interviewed her for the book and I love the way she breaks down her “natural” beauty. I like women who embrace artifice, like me, and women who change the beauty ideals. I like other women who admit it takes work and that it’s not all natural.
What does “eccentric glamour” mean? I learned the phrase from the amazing Simon Doonan, who wrote a hysterical and enlightening book of the same title. He included me in the book, and I loved discovering his name for this group of people who aren’t afraid of being mocked for their eccentricities and aren’t trying to be like everyone else. It’s not always easy; I’ve been made fun of a lot over the years. For me, eccentric glamour is about the art of creating aesthetic drama and visual theatrics—making yourself up to be the character you want to play in the theater of life.
What is the best beauty advice? Wear sunscreen, don’t smoke, eat sensibly, exercise.
Why did you decide to release this book now? It’s been a five-year-long process—there was so much I wanted to include in this book. I wanted readers to understand the obsessions I have, where they come from and how important this thing called glamour is to me. It’s not about impressing anyone, or the kind of glamour that’s about having expensive things; I’ve found ways of having glamour when I had nothing. My first experience with glamour was found in a $2 tube of red lipstick; and I used to sew dramatic vintage-style canopies over my bed in the name of DIY glamour. I started dressing in vintage clothes because I couldn’t afford the cool jeans like my friends. I love glamour because it’s about creating mystique and it doesn’t depend on being considered beautiful or young or rich…anyone can have it if they start to understand what it is and how to cultivate it.
What products are topping your list this fall? I love looking for luxe, fancy powder compacts during the holiday season. Estée Lauder makes the best ones. I also hunt for them on eBay because they still make the refills for them.
What is your signature scent right now? My fourth fragrance, which is called Erotique. It’s my masterpiece. Not commercially successful, which means it’s actually interesting! I can’t stand vanilla, fruity, candy-bomb perfumes. I wanted to make a perfume that smelled like a bouquet of rare roses held with a leather-gloved hand. It’s a blend of rose petal, cedarwood, coriander, pepper, leather and Bulgarian rose. I wanted a perfume that captures another time when perfume meant something different than “clean.” Perfumes were much more risqué and erotic in the past. It’s at shop.dita.net and hsn.com.
What is your favorite beauty destination in California? I like to frequent Korean spas and I love the Esalen Institute in Big Sur for a getaway.
What are the your favorite skin products you use to achieve such flawless skin during the colder months? I adore Retrouvé products, especially when it’s super dry. They’re ultra luxe, but really amazing. I also love Eminence skin care: I use the Linden-Calendula Treatment cream, the Apricot Calendula Cream and the Stone Crop Gel Wash. It’s a fabulous line, all natural and smells delicious. • LINDSAY KINDELON
Edited by JENNY MURRAY.