Dita Von Teese gives us her glamorous take on holiday party hostessing.
When she’s not on stage dazzling audiences with her sumptuous costumes, signature red pout, and sultry moves, LA-based burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese loves to cook and entertain. From favorite cocktails to retro party attire, we’ve got her best tips for hosting a decadent soiree this season.
What are your top tips for throwing a successful holiday party? DITA VON TEESE: I always like to have my house decorated very nicely, and I'm really into flattering lighting so I have dimmer switches in every room of my house. I think setting the mood is important, and I usually keep it small with just friends. I have a really good friend who's a master mixologist and she often will co-host with me and we’ll create cocktails together. We usually choose one specialty cocktail, something very simple and easy. In the wintertime, I like to have cocktails with a little bit of warmth that have a holiday feel to them. I do all the cooking myself, for the most part. I try to keep it very simple and focused and choose things that are easy to make but still look impressive.
Is there a particular cocktail that you like to serve during the holidays? DVT: I love Cointreau’s Sidecar because I'm really great at making it. It has cognac in it, which gives it warmth. I'll usually practice in advance. I'll learn how to make the cocktail and make sure that I like it and figure out how to easily organize it so I don't have a big mess on my hands. I think it's really important to consider serving a cocktail when you have a party instead of just popping open bottles. I always have miss-matched vintage glassware so that everybody knows which glass belongs to them.
What about themes? DVT: I'm known for having themed parties. I love a potluck because people get excited to bring their signature dish. I also have parties where I ask people to bring over something they’re working on, like some kind of artistic endeavor. It turns into something quite funny. Someone will bring over a violin they’re learning how to play and do a little presentation of what they're learning.
Do you have a favorite dish that you like to serve? DVT: Yes, I make a wonderful potpie. I [also] like to grill peaches: I cut them in half and soak them in Cointreau. Then I dip them in a little bit of brown sugar and I grill them. They caramelize really nicely. That's one of my favorite simple, decadent desserts to make. I love using whipped cream as a topping.
What do you like to wear to holiday parties? DVT: Well, it depends if I'm in my own home. I have a big collection of extravagant vintage loungewear from the 1930s to the 1960s. In the old days, women used to wear what was called a hostess gown. I wear a lot of them when I'm entertaining at home because they're kind of dramatic and they’re not things that are meant for going outside. I love the holiday season because I think it's another opportunity to go above and beyond the call of glamour and wear a little something even more fabulous than usual. I always believe in being overdressed rather than underdressed. I tend to bust out some of my long dresses [when I’m going out]. I really love long 1930s- and 1940s-era dresses, and that feeling of being comfortable but looking very elegant and polished at the same time.