Burlesque Beauty Booked For Ball

Her marriage to macabre rock singer Marilyn Manson may have collapsed over Christmas, but burlesque star Dita von Teese has been declared guest of honour at Vienna's otherworldly Opernball.

Von Teese, who stole the show in Manson's 'Mobscene' video - in which she performs an exotic dance in a giant glass of absinthe - is the latest in a string of colourful guests to grace the ball.

In past years, organiser Richard Lugner has annoyed some well-heeled Austrians by inviting increasingly 'unladylike' guests. Following old school choices such as Sophia Loren and an English duchess, Lugner switched to racier names such as Pamela Anderson and, last year, Paris Hilton.

The Opernball is one of the grandest white tie events of the season. Each year, the ball is beamed live on TV across Austria. Businessmen fork out astronomical sums for a box at Vienna's State Opera House, where the event is traditionally held.

Madame von Teese will reprise her role as a cocktail dancer at the ball. Mr. Lugner remarked at a press conference last week:

"Women like to show themselves naked. I myself bathe only in water, because to do it every time with champagne would be pretty expensive."

The ball takes place on January 31st.


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