I’ve known Austin O’Driscoll for years, but I think it was our mutual fascination with Dita von Teese that caused our friendship to bloom beyond the basic sort of thing it was before. Austin is quite a few years younger than me, and I met her when she was in college at Smith. She had this boyfriend then whom we all cilantro [hate] now. Jettisoning him when she moved to New York caused her to explore who she wanted to be.
I don’t want to insinuate that she wants to BE Dita. I think stripping down to pasties and a g-string must take a certain kind of fortitude. However, Austin has evolved into a vision of the 1950′s and early 60′s, with jet black hair that she often pin curls, cat eyeliner as every day wear, and the most amazing collection of vintage clothing. Every time I see her, she looks stunning.
Discovering that we both secretly worship Dita von Teese’s style caused our friendship to move into a different dimension. My husband rolled his eyes as we animatedly shared the different looks of hers – always covered up – that we adored. Her vintage dresses; her collection of old hats; her flawless makeup; her ability to always appear in public looking like an old-fashioned Hollywood star, never lazy or careless with her look – these were just a few of the things we both respected.
Making that connection with Austin inspired me to be more adventurous with my own coiffure. Normally, I’m a low maintenance sort of girl, but occasionally, it’s fun to dress up. Austin sent me cat eyeliner tutorials, and I sent her photos of my pathetic attempts at practice. (Now, I’m good at it.) I even went to my stylist for a beehive and have since poured over pictures of hairstyles online that I can actually create at home when I have a few free hours.
Austin called me today to catch up, and as we chatted excitedly about several things, I realized that she’s really become my true friend, a strong, fashionable woman whom I respect. I think, somehow, Dita would be pleased to know she played a different role from her norm, and played it beautifully.