Pin-up Girls v. SuicideGirls (ft. Dita Von Teese)

We’ve all seen those stunning pin-up girls of the past – they were all the rage throughout that 1940s-1960s era, especially in the United States.

If you Google “pin-up girls”, you’ll find that almost all of the names that come up belong to the classics: Bettie Page, Betty Grable, Jayne Mansfield, Hedy Lamarr, etc.

However, one name stands out: Dita Von Teese.

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For starters, some of you may be wondering who Dita Von Teese is and what she actually does.  Don’t worry – we’ll get to that.

However, since Google has gone ahead and thrown the present-day star, Dita Von Teese, in with all of the old school, original pin-up girls, we have to delve a bit deeper.  Dita’s appearance on this list raises questions.

What is a pin-up girl?  Can full-on pin-up girls be alternative, or are they limited to glamour?  Is Dita Von Teese a pin-up girl if she models and performs in the present-day with an alternative edge?  What is a SuicideGirl?  Is Dita Von Teese actually a SuicideGirl? And, most importantly, what’s the difference between a pin-up girl and a SuicideGirl?

Let’s get these questions answered.


Who is Dita Von Teese, and what does she do?

According to Vogue Magazine, Dita Von Teese is a “burlesque dancer and red-carpet mainstay”.  That’s an accurate description of her, but it’s also incomplete.  Dita Von Teese is, in fact, not the average burlesque dancer at all – she’s revolutionized the modern-day burlesque scene in America.

Furthermore, she’s a model, designer, entrepreneur, actress, and, as I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, vedette.

In an interview with Into the Gloss, Dita stated, “People always ask me what my main occupation is. It’s not actress; it’s not model. I guess burlesque dancer is my favorite title because I get the most satisfaction out of that…I guess. And I have the most ambition for creating my shows and performing in them. I think a lot of people probably don’t know that I don’t have a glam squad and that I am self-styled—it’s all me.”

All in all, Dita Von Teese is a one-of-a-kind woman who slays everything she does.

Next question.

 

What is a pin-up girl?  Can full-on pin-up girls be alternative, or are they limited to glamour?

This is a question that has to be answered via inference.  Luckily, Huffington Post painted a portrait of the classic pin-up girl with mere words, and it’s safe to say that they nailed it.

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“She’s risqué but never explicit. She’s flirtatious but fiercely independent. She’s erotic but always safe for work, a welcome sight for your teenage cousin and prudish mother alike. She’s the pin-up girl, an all natural American sweetheart created to win the adoration of men across the country.  You’d know her if you saw her — the rosy cheeks, bouncy curls, hourglass figure and penchant for thematic lingerie are pretty much a dead giveaway.”

From this, it’s easy to deduce that a pin-up girl in her truest sense is highly edgy, but not necessarily alternative.  She’s not dark, she’s not punk, she’s not metal – she’s glamorous, lovely, and not a force to be reckoned with.

 

Is Dita Von Teese a pin-up girl if she models and performs in the present-day with an alternative edge?

According to the previous answer, Dita Von Teese is not a classic, old-school pin-up girl.  She dresses the part, but she’s a slightly more modernized breed of pin-up girl due to her alternative flare.  This doesn’t make her any less of a pin-up girl – she’s just a different, more developed-form.  She’s where traditional pin-up meets a sprinkle of alternative.

That’s not to say that Dita hasn’t done a terrific job of preserving pin-up style in the modern-day world.

Harper’s Bazaar said it best: “Dita Von Teese is an old-fashioned girl. When I say this, I’m not referring to her style. The shiny black stilettos, the sheer, seamed stockings, and the black pleated skirt cinched by a wide belt at the waist and topped with a matching short-sleeved sweater may be pure 1950s New Look, but Von Teese carries it with such confidence that it all looks utterly contemporary. With her dark hair falling in a soft Lana Turner curl, alabaster skin, and carefully painted crimson lips, she would have looked perfectly at home here in the plush marble lobby of Paris’s Le Grand hotel — where she is currently staying — half a century ago, yet she also regularly tops the best-dressed lists now.”

This brings us to our next question.

 

What is a SuicideGirl? 

SuicideGirls are the modern-day pin-up girls – they’re tattooed, pierced, and alternative.  They have all kinds of hair colors, body types, etc.

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Gemma Edwards, a photographer who works with SuicideGirls, explained the concept beautifully. “It’s nothing to do with suicide, only referencing the idea of women that have committed social suicide by the way that they look – having too many tattoos or piercings, brightly coloured hair or simply the way that they are in terms of personality. Things that women have struggled with concealing as ‘negative’ attributes – too feisty, too bossy, too promiscuous…too opinionated! It might be women that have disabilities that hold them back from modelling elsewhere or women that are ‘too short’, ‘too muscular’ or ‘not thin enough’ for what is expected of mainstream fashion models – or maybe they are ‘too thin’, ‘too old’ or their boobs ‘too small’ for mainstream glamour modeling.”

 

Is Dita Von Teese a SuicideGirl?

Technically, no, she’s not.  SuicideGirls is a company with select models, known as SuicideGirls.

However, it can be said that her alternative vibe does atleast somewhat embody that of a SuicideGirl.

Stated plainly, Dita is the present-day pin-up girl.

 

What’s the difference between a pin-up girl and a SuicideGirl?

We’ve already discussed what a pin-up girl is and what a SuicideGirl is.  Pin-up girls were a concept created for advertisements, based on the concept of being the all-American, classically beautifully, girl next door with the added feature of a fiery, alluring personality.  Meanwhile, SuicideGirls are modern-day women who model for the sake of artistic expression.

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Essentially, SuicideGirls embody the spirit of the pin-up girl on a more rebellious, celebratory manner – they kick the bold femininity up a notch to correspond with society today.


All-in-all, even though there’s not much room in the world for professional pin-up girls anymore, that doesn’t mean that their style can’t live on through us.  If you love pin-up girls, consider doing the following:

  1. Embody pin-up girl fashion. Wear the clothes, do the make-up, preserve the attitude.
  2. Try moving it along through various art forms. Draw them, photograph your friends in pin-up, design pin-up clothes, etc.
  3. Consider becoming a SuicideGirl – they’re always taking applications for new models.

Unless we act on our passion for history, it dies.  Keep the pin-up girls alive.


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Ami J. Sanghvi is an independent blogger, writer, MMA fighter, and photographer.  For more information and updates, follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr (@QueenBloodSpice), check her out on Facebook, or email her at amijsanghvi@gmail.com.


 

Photo Credits:

Featured Image: Retro Cards

Image 1: Vogue Magazine

Image 2: Flavor Wire

Image 3: SuicideGirls

Image 4: Wallpaper Abyss

 

 

 

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Categories: amaranthine, america, black, blog, blogger, blue, burlesque, chic, dita von teese, fashion, fashion art, fashion blog, fashion blogger, fashion history, fashion model, fashion photographer, fashion photography, glamour, harpers bazaar, high fashion, high heels, lifestyle, lingerie, lipstick, matte lipstick, old fashioned, pin-up girls, pink, red lipstick, stiletto, stilettos, style, style tips, suicidegirls, trend, trending, trendy, united states of america, vogue, write, writer, writing

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