The Follies Of Dita Von Teese And Hustler

The striptease superstar’s new lingerie range sparks musings on fashion, celebrity and the inherent emptiness of much of the neo-burlesque scene.

I’ve always had a fondness for Dita Von Teese. Despite being propelled into mainstream popularity and celebrity, she never disowned her past as a fetish model or denied the obvious link between burlesque – an art form that she was key in reviving  – and striptease. Unlike many of the neo-burlesque performers of the early 2000s who furiously claimed not to be strippers even though their entire acts consisted of taking their clothes off on stage (albeit with more pathetic coyness and hypocrisy than the women working in lap dancing clubs), Dita never attempted to throw her sisters under the bus or pretend that her adult entertainment past was shameful, regrettable down to victimisation.

Modern burlesque, like the easy listening boom of the 1990s, saw a lot of bandwagon-jumpers, opportunists and people whose only interest in the art was as a stepping stone to celebrity and bigger mainstream careers, which inevitably led to its decline – too many performers, too many clubs, not enough sincerity or historical understanding. Dita has always seemed very much aware of the rich history that came before her and respected it – perhaps uniquely within that scene, where respect for the pioneering work of your predecessors has often seemed in short supply. Perhaps that’s why her performances so effortlessly outshone more or less everyone else’s – because she was doing it from a love for the art, not a desire to be a pop star or media celebrity – and because she didn’t change her moral compass depending on what the fashion of the day might be.

In recent years, Dita Von Teese has elevated her work into international tours, books, documentaries and now lingerie. Well, diversification is the future for creatives who are their own brand. I’m often suspicious of celebrity-based products – are we really supposed to believe that the big names that a new perfume is ‘by’ have been labouring over the vats, sourcing and mixing ingredients, or that they have even smelled the scent that they supposedly created? Or that movie and pop stars with fashion brands have had any involvement in the creative process? Perhaps it doesn’t matter – many of the big names in fashion and perfume only have a passing involvement in the products that bear their names (and sometimes have sold that name to massive conglomerates and so no longer even work for that business), so why does it matter if celebrities do the same – or even if they actually write the novels that are credited to them? If people are happy to buy into the illusion, good for them. It might seem like false advertising, and perhaps it is – though frankly, who in their right mind would want to buy a novel by Naomi Campbell or Katie Price if there was the slightest chance that they had actually written the damn thing? Imagine what sort of reading experience that would be.

I have no idea just how much actual involvement Dita has in her new Von Follies lingerie line, which is produced with – and exclusively sold by Hustler Hollywood. But again, bless her for happily working with the notorious and brilliant pornographers at Hustler. It certainly has a burlesque vibe about it, and I guess if anyone knows that world, it’ll be her. Certainly, this doesn’t look like practical, day-to-day underwear – though that probably depends on what your day-to-day life is like. Presumably, if you are the sort of woman who shops at Hustler Hollywood, this would be very much your thing.

You can explore the whole range here:

And while we are on the subject: stay tuned for our own forthcoming and exciting range of limited edition fashion items – well, T-shirts and accessories mostly – which we have definitely been completely responsible for designing and which will make you the most stylish hipster on the block.

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