Some shows are less about the product and more an excersise of branding. The launch of Dita Von Teese’s Von Follies was a bit of both, but here was an VAMFF show that mostly conveyed its message with props, casting choices and a soundtrack of dirty brass and burlesque symbol clashes. And why stray from brand Dita? It’s a strong brand, carefully set in place with hairspray and bobby pins and kept up by garter belts and suspenders. That’s the Dita fans know, and doubtless a lot of work goes into keeping it that way.
The Von Follies show opened with Dita herself, who packed a bucketload of burlesque seductiveness into a singular short appearence. She didn’t walk the runway; she performed down it. Hips swiveling, Louboutins gently but firmly telling the runway who was boss, outer garments cast away at the end of the catwalk revealing the show’s first lingerie set.
Following Dita came model after model but not in the usual cookie-cutter uniform sizes. And while there was no fanfare around this being a show for women of all sizes, the mix of models seemed to convey a message that any girl can spring from a giant martini glass looking great. What one lacks in washboard abs can be made up for with confidence and a carefully engineered sense of nostalgia. There’s an important distinction to make here, though: putting on a Von Follies set of underwear will not magically hide your flaws. But getting the styling right will certainly cast the kind of magic that makes people overlook them.
And that’s the thing that Dita knows, and that’s the secret she imparts. And that’s what she’s selling to fans. The ability to generate a type of sex appeal that’s based on fantasy, not just the naked body.
I can’t vouch for the quality of the Von Follies line – on the runway not all fits looked spectacular and after all this is a range (developed for retail chain Target) aimed at the entry to mid levels of the lingerie market, not one directed at the high end – but in the purveying of brand Dita, in the message that sexiness (particularly of the faux-vintage kind) is a full package that anyone can put together, the show played out its purpose well.
You can see all of the Von Follies by Dita Von Teese for Target runway collection by clicking on a thumbnail on the left. From there you can browse through each of the pictures from the fashion show.
Also from this fashion show.
Photography by Kelly Defina