Betty Grable. Sahji Pearl. Jane Russell. Lili St. Cyr. These names elicit visions of what glamour used to look like, from a time when lingerie was more than just seductive nighttime attire. While an assortment of gorgeous dolls (and drag queens) do their best to uphold that classic vibe, no one manages to illustrate or embody the beauty of burlesque like Dita Von Teese.
The former Mrs. Marilyn Manson credits her mother for her infatuation with vintage 1940s glam. That fascination with elegant hosiery and intricate undergarments together with childhood ballet training fueled Von Teese’s ascension as the modern queen of burlesque, famous worldwide for her stunning curves and elaborate shows. But the smoldering starlet stresses that glamour is undefinable, declaring that every size and shape can be glamorous, even on a thrift-store budget. (”I was making minimum wage when I first started doing burlesque,” she notes.) The best way to develop that allure, she says, is to find what makes you comfortable, embellish upon your best features and, most importantly, dare to be different.
Need a lesson or some quickie inspiration, sexy sisters? For the first time ever, Von Teese has taken her 90-minute spectacle, Burlesque: Strip Strip Hooray!, on the road; in fact, it’s already here. And fellas, be braced: An increasing number of women have been in attendance on the tour, Von Teese says—“embracing their own level of empowerment.”
The performer isn’t only bringing her show to her common-folk fans, but bringing more of it: Her previous gigs usually featured two acts, whereas Strip Strip Hooray! boasts four elaborate sets by Von Teese herself, plus a number of additional performers. Also, it’s important to note that Von Teese does her own hair and make-up and also designs her own costumes—a huge deal in the entertainment styling world. Garments intricately studded with Swavorski crystals are sure to be among the special on-stage features sure to dazzle attendees. The others, it’s safe to say, have precious little to do with stagewear.
Oct. 9. 7:30pm. The Tower Theater, 19 S. 69th St, Upper Darby.