Losing a suitcase is always stressful. But losing a suitcase when you are Dita Von Teese and just kicked off your latest tour, Dita Von Teese and the Copper Coupe, is downright panic-inducing. That’s why the entertainer apologized immediately when she sat down with Us at the Roxy Hotel on Monday, April 30.
“I’m so sorry I’m late,” she explained. “One of my suitcases is missing — the one with all my beauty stuff — and I usually do my own, so I had go buy all new makeup.”
Yup, that’s right, the woman whose retro-inspired makeup look has become as iconic as her groundbreaking performances, has “always” acted as her own glam squad. “I have a hard time sitting still backstage,” she explained, “so I just do it myself.”
For some two decades, Dita’s porcelain complexion, expertly winged liner and crimson-painted lips have been her signature look both on and off stage, while her perfectly sculpted raven-hued waves softly frame her face. While she admits she travels with “a lot of beauty stuff,” she loves MAC formulas (she’s worked with the brand several times on their Viva Glam campaign) for their staying power. And when it comes to keeping her makeup in place during her demanding performances, she credits her “quite dry skin” for providing the ideal base.
Her look is the essence of Old Hollywood glam, which is fitting given that her shows are often an homage to “vintage” burlesque. For her latest 24-city tour, the dancer partnered with a sponsor, luxury vodka distiller Absolut Elyx, for the first time, and while she’s been hesitant to partner with a brand in the past, this turned out to be a perfect fit.
“A friend of mine was like, ‘you’re famous for bathing in a giant cocktail glass. Have you ever considered a sponsor,’” she joked. “I love all of Elyx’s imagery, and I am super familiar with all of their copper stuff because I did my kitchen in British racing green with copper fixtures … I’ve got the hots for copper!”
With Elyx’s famed copper elements in mind, Dita teamed with longtime collaborators like fellow burlesque beauty Catherine D’Lish to dream up costumes and numbers that are her “most extravagant yet.” British designer Jenny Packham (a favorite of royals like Kate Middleton) and celeb shoe guru Christian Loubtoutin created custom Swarovski crystal-bedazzled wardrobe pieces (in coppery shades, of course) for the show. Working on the program for almost a year, both the opening act and the grand finale — which features an enormous copper coupe in place of her usual signature cocktail glass act — are an inspired by the brand’s copper-distilling process.
When it comes to unwinding after a night onstage, the 45-year-old told Us it is all about maintaining her focus and squeezing in her “beauty sleep” — but not before ensuring that every stich of face and body makeup is washed off.
“It’s like I say, I am never really fully naked up there. I am completely covered in layers and layers of illusion — makeup and powder and everything,” she said. “So it’s really about that shower at the end of the night.”
She relies on “a really good cleanser” and her “scrubby gloves” to take herself from “full 100 percent power glamour with layers and layers of makeup” to “nothing.” “And that’s the key really. It has to happen,” she said of her post-show shower ritual. “Never in my life have I gone to bed after a show with my makeup on my body or my face. I would never do that.”
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