INTERVIEW : DITA VON TEESE
International burlesque guru Dita Von Teese debuted a fully articulated 3D-printed gown designed by Michael Schmidt — and Ace friend and creator of wardrobes for luminaries like Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Deborah Harry and Madonna — in collaboration with Francis Bitonti and Shapeways at our F/W Fashion Week celebrations in New York City this spring. We caught up with the femme fatale to end all femme fatales to talk body modification, the bionic future and her influencers.
You’ve starred in an episode of CSI and done a turn as a judge RuPaul’s Drag Race, as did Beth Ditto. What does it feel like to come from an ‘underground’ background into the mainstream?
Well, it wasn’t an overnight thing. I have a career that spans twenty years. I spent plenty of time in the underground. I feel glad to have the kind of recognition I have now and to have the opportunity to take what I do to different levels and reach a broader audience, but at the same time retain the integrity of what I first set out to do — which was to become the greatest living striptease artist since Gypsy Rose Lee — and to do it my way and not have to commercialize it or sanitize it or do what other people told me I should do to make it.
You recently did a photo shoot at the United Artists Theater — a place very near and dear to the hearts of the Ace family as we’re inhabiting and rehabbing the theater as part of our new hotel in Downtown LA.
Oh god, I’m so excited. Yeah, I did that shoot with one of my favorite photographers, Ruven Afanador, and when I walked into that room… I’ve performed in a lot of the old theaters in downtown LA and I had never seen that one, it was just magical. I’m so excited about that place being opened up to the public because a lot of the old theaters there are only opened up for special events and you only get to see the lavish decor of these beautiful theaters once in a while for special occasions. The idea that people can drop in to Ace Hotel and see the beauty of that place is really exciting to me.