“I guess the moral of the story is to think about what you can bring that no one else has and do it with integrity and honesty. Focus on just being the best you can be, rather than looking at what everyone else is doing. … So if you really really love what you’re doing, recognition or not, you already win by just doing.” DVT
“A femme fatale is always chic, a little wicked, edgy and dark, and has her own dress code she sticks to.” DVT
C: What’s your take on the whole ‘body image’ debate?
DvT: A lot of people ask me about the Size Zero thing. For some, it doesn’t matter, for others it’s either about being voluptuous or thin. But you can’t really tell because beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. I don’t like people talking about other people’s sizes. You should never pick on people on the basis of their body.
C: That’s a very strong message for women everywhere…
DvT: Yes, and I believe that anyone can do it. I didn’t want to live up to the image of a beautiful supermodel who looks great in a bikini and no make-up. I can never fit into that image, and that’s the reason I started learning about the art of creating glamour. It’s like the Madonna theory. She may not be the best singer or the most beautiful woman, but she is the best pop star of our time. It’s not about the money, or having the right people, it’s about being the leader of your ship and overcoming what people said you didn’t have.
C: How have the ’40s and ’50s made such an impact on your style?
DvT: As a kid, I used to watch a lot of old movies, and it became obvious to me that glamour was not just something you are, it’s something you become. Without my hair, make-up, and fancy clothes, I’m a pretty ordinary looking girl. I’m the girl who people will tell, ‘Don’t let anyone ever tell you you’re not pretty’, like they’re doing me a favour. But I’ve learnt that I can own a room, or I can disappear in a crowd. And I like the fact that I can control the attention I get based on how I look.
C: If you had to give a friend just one style tip, what would it be?
DvT: To find your own personal sense of style and stick with it. You shouldn’t try too hard to be trendy or constantly change your look according to fashion. I think the most stylish and iconic women in the world don’t change their look every season. I feel best in clothes that I can wear every single year, over and over again.
C: Do you ever tire of dressing up every day? Do you ever crave casual jeans-and-tee days?
DvT: No, that sounds like a lot of effort! First of all, I’ll have to find a pair of jeans because I don’t own any. And my casual look is more of ’50s dresses. I’ll wear a cotton dress, put my hair in a bun, wear sunglasses, lipstick, and I’m done. I think that takes less time than putting on a pair of jeans, socks and T-shirt. Working a regular casual look requires a lot of effort, but slipping into and zipping a lovely summer dress is so much easier.
: Do share your top beauty tips…
DvT: Having clear good skin is really like the basis of beauty. It’s not about something you buy in a jar for $200. I always say that your best money is spent on a dermatologist, not a Botox or lazer one, but a real doctor who can help you improve your skin. Second, and this one’s obvious, don’t smoke cigarettes and skip the sun rays as they cause ageing. And number three, experiment with make-up, find a signature look, and own it. I love women who have that one thing they feel really strongly about, like for me it’s red lipstick. I enjoy it and there’s no talking me out of it. There’s no thinking, ‘Why don’t you try beige lips today’. No, it’s just not happening.
C: And do you always do your own make-up?
DvT: Yes, I do, unless I’m shooting for a campaign or doing a photoshoot. I have a hard time finding makeup artists who can what I do, better than me, and I don’t work with new make-up artists often because it’s frustrating to wait for someone to finish it in three hours, when you can do it in 20 minutes. There are some amazing hair and make-up artists I’ve worked with, but it’s hard to find people like that in every city.