Exclusive: Tripping with Dita Von Teese

Dita Von Teese started her career as a stripper called Heather Sweet in one of Los Angeles many bikini clubs. The former blond girl from a farming town in Michigan rose to international prominence in the early 2000s, in part due to her marriage to and subsequent divorce from Marilyn Manson, but largely thanks to her Hollywood Golden-era look and burlesque routines. Last week, the 39-year old queen of burlesque was in London to launch her fragrance Dita Von Teese at Liberty London. Luxury Travel Beat caught up with her to talk to her about her extensive travels.

Welcome to Luxury Travel Beat’s Tripping with segment. You are currently in London to launch your new fragrance, also called Dita Von Teese. Tell us a little bit about it?

I wanted it to be a perfume that smelled exactly how I imagined it, the essence of the femme fatale, a glamorous floral. I doubt the perfumers in Paris imagined that I would be in their lab almost every few weeks for an entire year, because most celebrity fragrances are chosen based on focus groups and things that are guaranteed to sell. But I wanted it to be perfect, and something I could be proud of, with no typical sweetness or vanilla or fruity stuff ! They actually kept insisting that I had to have these gourmand elements, because girls like that, but I kept thinking What would Dietrich do? What would my idols wear?  NOT little girlish candy-scented perfumes! So I stood my ground about it, and the end result is lovely and sexy, true grown-up glamour. This is my goal with all my perfumes, to make scents that are elegant, timeless and unique, perfumes suitable for a seductress, not a little girl!

I gave samples to friends, and tested how others reacted to me and to my perfume. This process continued until I found the exact composition that was perfect both for me and for others. The result is an extremely sensual perfume, perfectly feminine, exciting, and mysterious. It opens with a head note composed of fresh peonies, fizzy bergamot, and slightly spicy Bourbon pepper. The heart of the perfume beguiles the senses with a pure bouquet of Bulgarian rose, Tahitian Tiaré petals, and fresh jasmine. And in the base note, the mystical and warm scents of patchouli, musk, and smoky Gaiac wood and sandalwood add warmth and mystery. It had to be elegant, glamorous, sophisticated, sexy, and mysterious.

Wow. That sounds like a perfume after my own heart.  You are in London quite a bit, are there any places in the city you particularly love?

I love going to my favorite restaurants like The Wolsely, The Ivy, China Tang (at The Dorchester) and for cocktails, The Fumoir at Claridges. There is a lot of classic style glamour in London!

Favourite city in the world?

I do love Paris for the beauty of it, but I also love Los Angeles, San Francisco and New Orleans.

Dita Von Teese, pictured here at her Los Angeles home by Star Foreman

What is your travelling style like?

I keep it elegant with a beautiful black coat, sunglasses, and sensible but chic high heels, sunglasses and red lipstick. I have a “uniform” of sorts that is easy but looks polished. The key is the coat! Underneath it, I’m usually wearing a soft and comfortable cotton dress from Rachel Pally.

You travel a lot for work, but what’s your biggest motivation for travelling for leisure?

Relaxation and fun. Since I usually see a lot of big cities when I travel for work, I most often want to take a tropical or spa/wellness holiday.

Best holiday?

I went to Egypt for a few weeks with Christian Louboutin, who is a good friend, and a very adventurous traveler. First we spent some time in Cairo, then stayed at his beautiful place in Luxor, then sailed the Nile on his red-bottomed boat, stopping at all the important pyramids and sights.

Christian Louboutin has a red-bottomed boat? How very, ummm, Christian Louboutin. Worst holiday?

Years ago I went to San Francisco with an acquaintance who wasn’t travel-savvy. I felt like I was baby sitting! One must choose their travel companions wisely.

Do you prefer to travel with a companion or alone? If with a companion, what qualities does she/he have to possess for you to enjoy your travels

It depends on the trip, whether it’s for business or pleasure. I like to travel with a companion, but I prefer it when that person is either someone very close to me that I don’t mind looking after, otherwise they have to be independent and know how to take care of themselves. I am also very comfortable traveling alone, I’ve got plenty of airmiles racked up, so I know all the ins and outs of travel.

What’s the one thing you could never travel without?

I have many essentials, but I never travel without my technology, Iphone included, and a good book.

Most memorable person you’ve met on your travels?

Oh I meet lots of people, it would be difficult to say. I suppose I was lucky to have met the writer Paulo Coelho, who is amazing to know, and definitely loves to travel.

The Raffles Hotel, Singapore. Photo courtesy of the hotel.

What is the best hotel you’ve ever stayed in?

There are so many great antique hotels I’ve stayed in, but somehow the presidential suite at Raffles in Singapore lingers in my mind as being an extremely glamorous hotel experience.

Best meal you’ve had abroad?

I had a dinner in Kyoto, Japan with authentic geisha with one of the last great patrons of geisha in Kyoto, it was an unforgettable experience! The food was incredible and beautiful.

And lastly, what is your idea of a dream trip?

I really want to go on a romantic holiday one of the Orient Express excursions in a vintage private train-car, with just the right paramour. I’m sure it would be glamorous, relaxing and sensual…I’ve been planning my outfits out for this fantasy trip for years now!

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