Although it was never her intention, Dita Von Teese is slowly building a product empire.
For the past few years the burlesque dancer has flexed her entrepreneurial muscles by partnering with brands including MAC, Christian Louboutin and Dita eyewear along with creating her own line of lingerie with Australian manufacturer DCI Corp.
“I don’t think I ever expected it to be an empire and I certainly don’t feel like it’s an empire,” said Von Teese, who was holding court at Bloomingdale’s New York City flagship on Wednesday night to celebrate her new book, “Your Beauty Mark: The Ultimate Guide to Eccentric Glamour,” which she co-wrote with Rose Apodaca, and her lingerie line. “I just wanted to do good work and change people’s minds about striptease with the burlesque show and present a different kind of beauty that I believe in as well.”
The new book highlights her distinctive brand of beauty. The tome offers extensive instructions on everything from how to apply lipstick to the benefits of taking a bath. It’s the book Von Teese, who grew up when YouTube and Instagram beauty tutorials didn’t exist, always wanted to have.
“When I first started styling myself this way, I had pictures of Old Hollywood movie stars and that’s how I figured it out,” Von Teese said. “I had no beauty guide. I had no Internet and I thought I should write the book with all the information that I would have liked to have back then. I wanted to lay out all of my beauty secrets and that’s why it’s such a huge book. I had a lot to say.”
Von Teese also has a lot to say about lingerie, which led her to developing her line with DCI, an Australian manufacturer that holds the global license for the collection. According to Helen Anderson, a general manager at DCI, since the collection launched at Bloomingdale’s in 2014, it has had double-digit growth in the U.S., which makes up 25 percent of the line’s sales. The collection is also sold in the U.K., Europe, Australia, China, Canada and Portugal is up next.
Anderson said Bloomingdale’s is the brand’s largest U.S. retailer and the assortment is also carried by Nordstrom, Bare Necessities, Journelle, Dillard’s, and will be available soon at Her Room, Nasty Gal and select independent stores.
“The Dita Von Teese lingerie collection has surprised some of our U.S. retailers because it is a brand which particularly sells in sets,” Anderson said. “Dita’s customer will buy the bra, the panty and often the garter, which was previously an item that sold well in international markets. We are finding that Dita is encouraging American women to buy garters, too.”
Von Teese, whose first job was at a lingerie store, said she’s now starting to test loungewear.
“I love showing ways people can be glamorous but to be comfortable at the same time,” she said.