The image changer
JUST AS SHE CHANGED ATTITUDES TOWARDS BURLESQUE DANCING, DITA VON TEESE MAY VERY WELL END UP SHIFTING PERCEPTIONS OF CIGARS AMONG WOMEN
WHEN IT COMES TO female cigar-smoking celebrities, Dita Von Teese is certainly up there with the most well known. Often photographed wrapping her scarlet-painted lips around a large Cuban cigar, or blowing the perfect round smoke ring, Von Teese has become an international symbol for women who wish to disassociate themselves from the traditionally macho image attached to cigar smoking.
Indeed, it’s that ability to change perceptions that has made Von Teese such a celebrated figure. While she may have come to prominence as an alternative model, and the wife of goth-rock singer Marilyn Manson, Von Teese has since shaken up popular views of burlesque dancing, and is often credited with returning its reputation to one that exudes glitz and glamour.
These days, however, Von Teese is nothing short of a fashion icon, having appeared on countless best-dressed lists and graced the covers of countless fashion magazines. She is known to frequent the front rows of fashion shows, particularly those held by designers like Christian Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood and Marc Jacobs—labels she is often seen wearing. Make no mistake, Von Teese is hardly a symbol of high-street regularity—she’s more the epitome of high-end haute couture.
"Jean Paul Gaultier, John Galliano, and Vivienne Westwood were the first designers that really made an impact on me. Jean Paul has a lot of the same obsessions that I do. It was a dream come true to meet him and become friends with him. I met him the first time when I was doing my first fashion pictorial, which was for Flaunt magazine, and it was a huge story of me wearing the most important pieces from his haute couture archives, and that was a dream!” she once said of the brands she most loves.
And these brands have appreciated Von Teese’s fandom. As well as working with Gaultier on the aforementioned pictorial, she