Crazy Horse Paris founder Alain Bernardin and burlesque queen Dita Von Teese share one very burning fetish: The desire for perfection.
Monsieur Bernardin, who started his cabaret in 1951 on Avenue George V continued to strive for the next four decades until ending his life at 78 to cultivate l'art du nu–the art of the nude.
His life's work is not lost on his three grown children who now run the business: The dozen ballet-trained dancers on stage at the Crazy Horse in Las Vegas Wednesday night all flaunted the same tall height, the same small cup size and the same impressively flawless physiques. These are the same kind of impossibly provocative and perfect women who inhabited Guy Bourdin's photographs, and some were flown in from Paris for the week-long engagement starring Dita.
The dress-undress connection with the Crazy Horse is even more striking considering Bernardin's heaven was next door to the salon of Cristobal Balenciaga and years later Yves St. Laurent would set up his studio across the road.
But it was Vegas where we would finally catch Dita at the Crazy Horse. Despite staying at her truly fabulous place in Paris for nearly three weeks recently, I never saw her perform there. Each time she performed in Paris over the last few years, we'd miss her by a week, even an evening. So despite an absolutely crazy time to escape L.A. (we'd barely slung open the doors of our new A+R store), we hopped a plane over to catch her.
It was well worth it.
The Crazy Horse Paris inside the MGM Grand is the perfectly intimate venue to witness Alain Bernardin and Dita Von Teese's l'art du nu.
The burlesque star's performances–including "le Bain Noir," where she strips down and bathes in a shiny black claw-foot tub–punctuate a variety show of routines featuring all or individuals of of the Crazy Horse dozen, as well as a few comical sketches by twin brothers. Dita, too, contributed to the medley of talent by lip-synching two songs she recorded. Let's hope she decides to finally release them as a single.
Opening night brought out more Angelenoes than Andy and me. We sat with Michael Schmidt, whose work appears all over town–from the mesh tops hanging off Cher to a grand installation inside Kerry Simon's Palms restaurant. Philanthropist Susan Casden and filmmaker/author Liz Goldwyn accompanied Decades' Cameron Silver. Never mind what the rest of us were wearing. He looked positively flash in a sparkly slim suit right off the Michael Kors Fall 2010 runway (the boy's got fans in every fashion city). He also beat me to the post with his own–he did forgo the afterparty, early bird that he is.
And what an after party he missed! With a couple of hours to kill after the show (we all hit the first installment that evening), Michael, Andy and I hit Julian Serrano's restaurant at the Aria Hotel, where we were staying–and loving the rooms and restaurants (did not at all feel like we were in Vegas). Enjoyed some of the best Spanish dishes outside of Spain here for a second night. Andy and I had powered away several tapas and servings of fino just 24 hours before.
Then back to the MGM at midnight, and into a cordoned off area inside Studio 54 with Dita, her foxy manager Melissa Dishell, rock-n-roller Big Sandy and the entire Crazy Horse Paris cast. We drained several bottles of Veuve into the wee hours of the disco night. Sadly, all the clicking I did was for naught. Somewhere between the club and the hotel, my treasured Leica disappeared.
A smudge on an otherwise perfect night? It was all too good to let it be so.
Photos: Denise Truscello / WireImage / Getty Images Courtesy of DMG
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