CNN has an interview with Dita Von Teese that you can watch here. I like how the interview opens with the narrator calling Dita the most beautiful girl in London, but then the camera spends more time on the quirky interviewer than the subject. Blah, I hate it when the media becomes more important than the subject at hand.
The best part of the interview was when Dita explained how much power she had over her image. She explained that she knew she could never be a beautiful naked super thin beach model like the mainstream demands, but she could become what she is, a woman with a very distinct style and appearance. The fact that her style coincides with her own tastes is just bonus.
I’ve been a fan of Dita for ages. I came across her on Usenet and was struck by how singular she looked. At the time, fetish photography leaned towards this stark woodshed appearance with models who looked like malnourished runaways. I understand why BDSM fetish likes things that remind them of prison camps, but it is not for me. I like BDSM as a vibrant creative hobby instead of a recreation of humanity’s darkness. Dita’s retro look and immaculate appearance represented an ideal that can be aspired to. When she did bondage work, it always came across as a fun colorful experience, not a dour enslavement of the soul.
Dita embodies that one vital piece of fashion advice that so many people seem oblivious to. I see people wearing Betty Page t-shirts where the wearer says that they wear the shirt because they are a fan of her style and appearance. Don’t wear a t-shirt of someone you admire. Embrace what you admire of them and incorporate it. Dita has become synonymous with her role models by observation, reproduction and innovation. She understood what she admired about them and followed in their footsteps. She didn’t declare her love for the 40’s by buying a bunch of t-shirts and getting a dozen saucy tattoos.
Over the years it seems Dita models less and does more burlesque work. I am a little disappointed as her modeling work is something I can access from home, while her burlesque work is something only shared with those who see her in person. I can’t fault her though. I imagine that burlesque is a more creative work for her. It forces a person to be both author and subject. Hell, it’s really just an old fashioned version of blogging if you want to get down to it.