Vogue.co.uk: Dita’s Secrets
by Lisa Niven
09 May 2012
DITA VON TEESE’s classic retro beauty is fundamental to her glamorous image, so a chance to discover her much-coveted secrets was a good opportunity indeed. Having just launched her eponymous fragrance at Liberty, the star told us about her upcoming beauty book, her make-up mishaps and how she manages to look so immaculate all of the time.
What are your beauty secrets?
I really believe that beauty comes from health – sensible eating and exercise. I think that when it comes to beauty, people think of products – like miracle face creams – but actually it’s more about taking care of yourself. I am a big fan of a book called The Beauty Detox Solution, by Kimberly Snyder, and there’s a recipe for a green smoothie in there that I have every day without fail.
Who are your beauty icons?
My beauty icons are women whose images are self-created. There were so many really wonderful icons from the Fifties and Sixties – I really love Lisa Fonssagrives, who was married to Irving Penn. Back then, models like her knew how to paint their faces, and knew themselves and how to make themselves look good. Models these days know nothing about that.
Have you had any beauty disasters?
I think the beauty looks I most regret are those I was persuaded into. There have been moments where I’ve been coerced into posing with very little make-up, or with pale lips [instead of her classic red]. Some photographers think they’re being really clever, or doing something new by stripping away the elements of glamour from my look. That would be what I’ve regretted most, in terms of beauty – being coerced into being something I’m not and being made to feel vulnerable.
Are there people you allow to see you without make-up?
Of course – I don’t wear make-up when I’m just with boyfriends or close friends. I’m not always in a full face of make-up! That’s actually one of the things I like about make-up – that you can strip it away and show your vulnerability.
What made you want to launch a fragrance?
For more than two decades I’ve worn just one fragrances – Quelques Fleurs L’Original by Houbigant. I think every woman should have a signature scent, and I wanted other people to be able to wear a fragrance that they would associate with me. I also really wanted the challenge of creating something that was very elegant, but for a lower price point. I think I achieved that, and I was very hands-on in the creative process.
Which modern-day beauties do you admire?
Tilda Swinton. She’s always so polished, chic and unique – like a sphinx cat. She isn’t seeking anyone’s approval. I admire people that are individuals, and I can definitely appreciate her look even though it’s nothing like my own.
You always look immaculate – how do you do it?
I do everything myself. It’s rare that I’ll have a beauty team, unless it’s for a shoot – and even then I often like to do my own make-up and hair. I just don’t like to be reliant upon a team. I taught myself how to do my own make-up by analysing photos and practising a lot. I’m actually writing a beauty book at the moment and that’s the message – if you devote yourself to learning then you can achieve it. If I were a young girl looking at the red carpet – where all of these women have been made to look amazing by teams of professionals – I think I’d feel inadequate, so I think it’s important to learn how to make yourself feel good. When I was younger I didn’t earn much money but I still had glamour, because I taught myself how to create it.
Which products can’t you live without?
I’m launching a make-up collection with [German beauty brand] ArtDeco this month, so I’ve been wearing a lot of that. I’ve gone for quite a classic feel, but with ultra colours like fuchsia or bright orange. And of course I love red lipstick – it’s so classic.
How do you stay in such amazing shape?
I do pilates, and ballet from time to time. I also do yoga occasionally, but it’s very occasional!
What do you think about cosmetic surgery?
I definitely think it’s best when done in an elegant way. You need to talk it through with a trusted friend and make sure you’re doing the right thing – we’ve all seen what it’s like when someone goes too far. Technology has advanced so much now, so there are so many more options.
Dita’s fragrance is available exclusively at www.liberty.co.uk.