Adriana, The Femme Fatale

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A sleek black dress, heels and hose, a cigarette smoking away…and if looks could kill, then hers say murder. But it’s not a saucy scene from a retro noir in a steamy South American setting. It’s model Adriana Lima posing for Vogue Brazil in an editorial shot by Giampaolo Sgura.

Pascale-Mira Taurua

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Pascale-Mira Taurua didn’t set out to be an artist. Originally a model, she was crowned Miss France in 1978, though relinquishing the title six months later. But painting beckoned, and after studying at the Conservatoire des Arts in Tahiti during the 1980’s, her first gallery show occurred in the early 2000’s, and since, she’s been hard at work in her studio in the small French village of Pau in the shadow of a King Henry IV castle.

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She works primarily in traditional oil on canvas, though sometimes (as seen in examples of her work) more adventurous pieces might be in mixed media acrylics with collage. Clearly much of her work is inspired by the same modeling and fashion worlds she once was a part of, with some paintings even reworking well-known fashion photos. Yes, there’s glamor here. But there’s something more, a cynicism perhaps, or something maybe just a bit darker?

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Too Many For Magda.

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How many mystery and noir-ish crime stories begin in a bar? Start things out with a drunk, a B-girl, a pickup or a clandestine meeting. Sure, good things can happen over a drink, and bad things are bound to occur over too many. Argentine model Magda Laguinge acts like she’s had a few or a few too many in this 2013 B&W fashion editorial from Interview Germany, shot by Sebastian Faena and directed by Julia von Boehm.

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Black Friday

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I think the photo suite was titled “Black Friday”. Peter Gehrke shoots model Lila Cardona in a noir-ish homage, strictly black and white, for And Other Stories’ Black Friday campaign in 2018. It’s no stretch to concoct your own story for this series, with Cardona heading up the dark stairway, perhaps to her in-town love nest getaway. A call is made on arrival. To her lover for a rendezvous later? Well…could be. Or, just as likely, for a rendezvous with something much more sinister. She peers through the blinds, apprehensive, then glances at her reflection in the mirror, seeing the face of a lover, the face of a liar, the face of a killer…

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Secret Agent Chic

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Guy Aroch’s behind the camera, Vadim Galaganov handles styling duties and Sasha Luss is the very lethal looking secret agent in this July 2019 photo editorial for Elle Russia magazine. A clandestine meeting and planned briefcase exchange apparently goes bad, but I suspect that Sasha-the-spy (and her scary looking automatic) resolved things in the end.

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Motel Affair

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Narrative fashion editorials tell stories, but only ‘sort-of’, so it can be amusing to fill in the blanks. Consider this 2011 Flair Austria editorial, “Motel Affair” shot by Uwe Duettmann with model Johanna Jonsson.

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So, what’s the story here? Merely some stylish neo-noir style motel infidelity, with model Jonsson waiting impatiently for her lover to arrive? But no, there seems to be more going on, evidenced by her hasty getaway, especially since it seems she left someone behind…and it’s unclear if he’s only asleep, or dead.

But then, I really read way too much into these things…

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Lagerfeld’s Femme Fatale

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Her dark apparel and even darker hair barely emerge from the shadowy black background. A cigarette dangles from her lips, eyes fixed on the nylon sheen as she adjusts her stocking. All that’s missing is a cleverly hidden .22 revolver.

Karl Lagerfeld – designer, artist, photographer and creative director for Chanel, Fendi and his own fashion house — who passed away last week, shoots model Anna Mougalis as the Noir Femme Fatale personified.

Don’t Talk To Strangers In Cars

Gwen Stefani by Michelangelo Battista

Sound advice: Don’t approach a car idling at the curb and don’t talk to strangers. Especially a stranger leaning out of the driver’s side window who looks as menacing as singer Gwen Stefani does in this retro-styled image from fashion photographer Michelangelo Battista.

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