There is no cinematic image more classically fashionable than the femme fatale, there is something dark and alluring about the way a femme fatale is presented on the screen. We can thank the much celebrated genre of Film Noir for the term, and for developing a certain image of femininity, and womanhood’s intersection with fashion, on the big screen. Traditionally defined as a film genre that stretched from the early 1940s to the late 1950s, Noir is used to describe the stylistic crime dramas of the period that often explored themes of moral indecision and repressed sexual impulsion. Noir plots are easily identified because most revolve around a hard boiled detective with a questionable moral compass who must solve a crime driven by jealousy, passion, alienation or false suspicions. The detective, though a series of flashbacks and interactions with unsavory characters and plenty of femme fatales, must conquer their moral complexities. Noir oozes style and it's fashion speaks volumes about a femme fatale and what kind of woman she was. A seductress, a temptress, and the possessor of womanly wiles so extraordinary that they could manipulate even the most cunning of detectives, the femme fatale was fashionable, either wearing something overtly sexy or accentuating her eroticism in the details. Off the shoulder necklines, lacey ruffle details, and suits tailored to perfection were all designed to highlight the femme fatale’s voluptuous figure. Stockings with seamed backs were the ultimate finishing touch providing just a peak of naughty sexual suggestion. The femme fatale’s makeup and accessories were always the pinnacle of perfection.
For Barbara Stanwycks style inspiration please check out this post but here's some other classic femme fatale fashion inspiration for Saturday night.
Rita Hayworth in Gilda
Lauren Bacall in The Big Sleep
Claire Trevor in Murder My Sweet
Gene Tierney in Laura
Ava Gardner in The Killers
Vernonica Lake in This Gun for Hire
Peggy Cummins in Gun Crazy
Kim Novak in Vertigo
Jane Greer in Out of The Past
Lana Turner The Postman Always Rings Twice