When it comes to the bare essentials, burlesque queen Dita Von Teese knows how to strip things down to the elements that seduce her the most.
"Glamour and beauty and luxury," she purrs, "and marry that with fit and function and attainability."
The raven-haired siren is talking about her new line of vintage-inspired lingerie—which is set to launch on April 23—and she tells this to us as she sits perched on a velvet couch in a speakeasy-like backroom of the trendy Manhattan boîte The Lion.
If there's one thing to know about the sultry burlesque superstar, it is this: She doesn't utter her words. She coos them: lilting, wistful, soigné. The effect is oddly hypnotic, amplified by the pinup-girl mystique that she so deftly cultivates for herself—for our chat, she wears a black pencil-cut dress and '40s-era gold brooch, her hair cascading into Bettie Page-esque curls.
Dita's lingerie line is nothing new. It's been available, under her Von Follies label, in Europe, Australia and online. But the new collection is about to reach its widest market yet via Dita's partnership with HSN, which is putting considerable promotional muscle behind the line's big U.S. expansion.
It was an enterprise that Dita was perfectly prepped for.
"I worked in a lingerie store when I was a teenager—it was my first job, and I worked for 10 years selling lingerie," she explains. "I learned a lot about how women are very specific about what kind of shapes and styles they like: briefs, thongs, bikinis, all those different options."
Prices for the items in her collection won't break the bank: They go from $25 to $45. And although they're glazed with sensuality—leopard print and lace are clear staples of her aesthetic—the pieces are both inclusive and carefully thought out.
"It was important to me to be able to offer lots of different styles," she says about the collection, whose sizing options range from petite to plus-size. "Women are just very specific, and I thought a lot about that: I thought about the things that I, personally, want in my lingerie wardrobe."
And what she wants can pretty much be distilled into a simple edict.
"I like to be comfortable," she insists. "Even if I like high-style glamour, I also love finding ways of being comfortable and glamorous at the same time"—two qualities, she quips, that are not always easy to meld.
As for her tips on how to best shop for items in her collection, Dita offers advice that is both practical and, well, vintage Von Teese.
"I think it's important to always not just buy one pair of panty—buy at least two," she says, teasingly. "You gotta have backup—you never know where you're gonna lose those things."