Fashion Files – Aug. 2017

Posted: August 4th, 2017 | Columnists, Fashion Files, Featured | No Comments

By Diana Cavagnaro | Fashion Files

A fashion Teese 

Dita Von Teese arrived in San Diego on July 5 for the opening night of her new show,“The Art of the Teese” at the House of Blues Downtown. Dita is so popular that the first night was sold out and they added a second night. This whirlwind tour will visit many major cities during July.

Dita Von Teese in her bullriding attire (Courtesy of Dita Von Teese)

Dita is known as the Queen of Burlesque and is also a dancer, costume designer and author. She is also one of the biggest fashion icons in the world who is always bringing back the glamorous look of the ’50s and ’60s on the red carpet. If you look at Dita’s website, the first thing you see is a picture of her in a stunning Dior gown by John Galliano exuding style and femininity. 

In an interview, I asked Dita about her picks for fashion designers. Some of her favorites are Dior, Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad, Ulyana Sergeenko and Gaultier. Alexis Mabille is another designer that she likes and is the youngest member of the grand couturier. 

The host for the evening was a terrific comedian, Jonny McGovern from the show “Hey Qween.” Dita said that 95 percent of “The Art of Teese” was new. 

“I want try and evolve so we are debuting a new version of the Champagne glass,” she said. 

The goal for putting this Burlesque Revue together was to have diversity in the cast. She is doing this by having different ethnicities and ages and letting them shine in their own light. She wanted to support other performers in reinterpreting some of her famous acts rather then imitating them. There was a performance by Dirty Martini performing Dita’s Carousel Horse act in her own distinctive way. Ginger Valentine performed Dita’s act “My Heart Belongs to Daddy.” This new version used an 8-foot red iron heart. 

Other performers include Jett Adore as Zorro, the incredible dancer Zelia Rose from Australia, and superstar Violet Chachki from “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Finally, there were the two Oh La La backup dancers Alek Palinski and Elio Martinez. 

Dita performed a version of “The Black Swan” from “Swan Lake” completely on point. 

Another act was named “Lazy” with incredible costumes by British designer Jenny Packham. One of Dita’s sponsors is Swarovski Crystals, transforming everything on the stage and making them come to life. The last performance showed Dita as a cowgirl on a mechanical bull — all in sparkling pink. 

Dita is also an entrepreneur who designs and sells her own  glove collection, ’50s stockings, cardigans that now come in 28 colors, upscale lingerie and books. The costumes and sets of “The Art of the Teese” were collaborations with Catherine Delish. 

Transforming dreams into reality 

The fourth annual Her Universe Fashion Show was presented on Thursday, July 20 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in conjunction with Comic-Con and featured Geek Couture.

Ashley Eckstein, Mistress of Ceremonies, wearing a creation by Andrew MacLaine (Photo by Diana Cavagnaro)

There were 25 fashion designers who were inspired by sci-fi and pop culture.

It was like “Project Runway” for Comic-Con.

The winner had the opportunity to design a collection with Ashley Eckstein, founder of Hot Topic. 

Eckstein was the mistress of ceremonies for the evening. Andrew MacLaine, 2014 Her Universe Fashion Show winner, designed her gown, Wish Upon A Star.

This gown was made with 55 yards of Disney-created fabric and 5,000 hand-applied crystals. It was corseted at the top with three tiers in the skirt.

The gown was dress length in the front and long in the back with a short train. It was truly amazing! 

Eckstein’s father worked for Disney World near Orlando, Florida and she spent a lot of time on Main Street U.S.A. as she was growing up.

This year, she made an announcement about a book she is writing for Disney, titled “It’s Your Universe!” It is scheduled to be released in May 2018, and will contain inspiring stories on how to “Dream, Wish, Believe, Do and Transform.” 

Judges Pick: Rose Ivy, Sorceress Supreme, based on Marvel’s Doctor Strange (Photo by Diana Cavagnaro)

The panel of celebrity judges this year was Cindy Levitt, Hannah Lee-Kent, Jess Thaxton, Camille Falciola, Yaya Han, Nicole Myknott and Harley Quinn Smith.

They had the opportunity to vote for a winner and this year, for the first time ever, had a tie.

The winners were Rose Ivy and Lindsay Meesak Orndorff. Ivy’s design was Sorceress Supreme, based on Marvel’s “Doctor Strange.”

Orndorff created a design called Leader of the Pack based on Studio Ghibli’s “Princess Mononoke.”

The audience was also given a chance to vote and this winner was Grace Duval. Her design was Don’t Panic based on “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” 

These three winners will design a collection for Hot Topic with the theme Disney Princess, which should be available at the retailer in 2018.

Upcoming events

Aug. 13 | Designers at the Del Fashion Show and Brunch — takes place at Hotel del Coronado, featuring Isabel Vianey and Haus of K2 from 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Free; sit and enjoy, special cocktail and brunch menu available for purchase. For reservations, call 619-522-8490.  

Aug. 26 |Culinary & Culture at the San Diego Spirits Festival featuring a FWSD Designers Runway Show located at the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier from 7–9 p.m. For tickets:

Aug. 19 | 40th Haute with Heart Fashion Show St. Madeleine Sophie’s event located at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. with luncheon fashion show, boutique shopping, live and silent auction. For tickets, visit 

—Diana Cavagnaro is an internationally renowned couture milliner based in the Historic Gaslamp Quarter. Learn more about our hat designer, teacher and blogger at

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