DITA VON TEESE doesn’t so much enter a room as materialize there. Before you have quite registered her presence, she is shaking your hand and offering tea, the moment like some deft conjurer’s trick.
“I’m a magician,” she murmurs as if on cue. “I make you see something that wasn’t there before.” That bit of apparent sorcery, she says, is “the very definition of power and glamour.”
Watching Ms. Von Teese sip her lemon jasmine brew, her yellow dressing gown setting off jet hair and pale skin, you might take her at her word. You might even succumb to the darkly eccentric ambience of her home in the Los Feliz neighborhood, the waning afternoon light fixing on her menagerie of stuffed swans, a peacock and an imperious ostrich casting a haughty eye on visitors.
But she is quick to break the spell. “I want people to understand more about me,” she says. “People are always asking, ‘What is it that she does exactly?’ ”
What she does, of course, is drop her clothes onstage, as artfully as her idol Gypsy Rose Lee.