Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Double Indemnity Fashion, Barbara Stanwyck as Phyllis Dietrichson

Chief designer, costume legend Edith Head determined the style of Paramount and other large Hollywood studios till the  late 60s. This grande dame of costume design created the outfits for one of the darkest and most fascinating femme fatales, Barbara Stanwyck as Phyllis Dietrichson in Double Indemnity. She packed the undoubtable attraction of female sexuality into feminine strictness and simple smartness.   

Full on Glamour
With Barabara Stanwyck as the icy blonde, one of the keys looks was  juxtaposing the femme fatale nature with a look of innocence in fragile white costumes that made her look delicate and feminine against her structured hair and pouty red lips which showed her harder edge.This look is casual but glamorous, to recreate choose a long sleeved jump suit in light coloured silk or chiffon material. Use a similar coloured piece of ribbon to tie at the waist. A Maxi dress will work just as well as a jumpsuit, or alternatively mix a similar coloured shirt with a long skirt and tie in the middle with ribbon. For the more creatively inclined take a silk dressing gown and sew the two sides together and voila a long silky maxi dress.


Casual Flirty Day Dress
A pretty long sleeved day dress with soft ruffles and a high neck is still playful and fun by showing abit of leg. Modern versions of this dress are very popular at the moment so hunt around, Penny's will always have something similar. 

1940s House Wife
To achieve the perfect 1940s house wife  look choose a simple light shirt in either chiffon or silk with dark patterns and wear it with a dark pencil skirt. A pencil skirt that flares out a little at the bottom will help balance out your figure and  accentuates a  femme fatale hourglass shape.


Smart Casual Femme Fatale 
In the film this outfit was actually a pair of wide legged trousers and a fitted jumper but an a-line skirt is used in all the promotional material and I think it's foxier. Although the film is in black and white the promotional posters show her in a pink boat neck sweater and black skirt, a very sweet but sassy colour combo. To put this outfit together go for a light pink, tight fitting round neck jumper, paired with an a-line skirt, a pencil skirt or wide legged trousers and finished off with a thin black patent belt, black patent shoes and abit of bling around your neck. The key to styling this outfit is to tuck in the jumper and make sure that the belt  is slightly lower than the top of the skirt.

Femme Fatale Suit 
Every femme fatale must own a good skirt suit, a matching fitted jacket and pencil skirt with a crisp white fitted shirt.

Checkered print for a checkered past 
A perfect 40s pattern, a full blown checkered black and white ensemble or just a hint of it can bring together a stylish femme fatale outfit.

Little Black Dress
 Every femme fatale needs her little black dress, with this one the devil is in the detail. Add fringing to the sleeves and hem for a slinky look and a giant brooch to recreate the look.

The Mac
The perfect coat for detectives and the ladies that they investigate


Phyllis has many extravagant accessories, dominant jewelry (big ring and broad bracelet) which she combines with the high-heeled shoes in patent black and light satin with puff ball decor. While lined stockings, heels and red  lipstick are a must you can't play a murderous 'grieving' widow without a good veiled hat and gloves. If you really want to emulate Phyllis don't forget your anklet.

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