The title of the photo suite these images come from might make you think of Halloween. Wrong holiday. I suppose I ought to repost this group come February 2021. From “My Bloody Valentine” by Dallas, Texas based photographer and artist Tom Hussey.
It’s mid-October and time to think about Halloween over the next couple weeks, even if trick-or-treating and costume parties are in jeopardy this year. Let’s kick off the season with Charlotte Gainsbourg striking a seasonably sinister pose as a bewitching femme fatale in this photo by Ali Mahdavi.
“The Telephone Is Dead” by California photographer Michael Malak. Looks to me like the line’s been cut. Lets hope that’s all she plans to use that knife for.
A gleaming black piano. A woman poured into in a snug-n-sparkly black gown, her far away expression suggesting rueful thoughts about love gone bad or just plain…gone. All the makings of a bluesy torch song…or a noir-ish tale. Carter Smithe shoots model Marja Vojovic for Elle US back in 2010.
Here’s a more recent tutorial of some sort on “How To Be A Femme Fatale”, with model Heidi Harrington-Johnson (I think) which, like 1955’s Chic magazine in the preceding post, would seem to suggest it’s all about what you wear. Of course, in this case, I’m guessing it’s got nothing to do with carrying a purse-sized .22, and much more about what you wear under a sleek femme fatale’s LBD. (And I’m embarrassed to admit that I no longer recall where I originally screen-capped this thing from, so I suppose none of us will find out ‘next week’.)
It’s a safe bet that the cover photo’s bob-bon colored cruise wear wasn’t going to do the trick, but it sure would be nice to learn “What It Takes To Be A Femme Fatale”, at least from the 1955 perspective discussed in Chic, “The Purse Sized Magazine For Women”. Since a collectible copy of this magazine goes for $125 or thereabouts, though, I’ll just have to keep guessing.
I believe it’s a photo from a 2018 shoot for Dita Von Teese Eyewear (sunglasses, I’ll guess, not prescription specs). Now you might expect a closeup on the shades, but this photo’s much nicer than any old tabletop product shot.
Doing a double-check of Hollywood movie trivia for some writing-in-progress, I had to pause when I stumbled across “The Girl Hunt Ballet” sequence from Vincente Minelli’s 1953 MGM musical The Band Wagon. Call me a procrastinator, but I just had to watch it a couple of times. Now, musicals aren’t really my thing. But if you haven’t seen this stunning 12-minute homage to then controversial Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer hard-boiled novels, you’re missing a treat. In the mini-movie-within-a-movie, Fred Astaire’s a dapper but dangerous New York gumshoe and Cyd Charisse may be the most bewitching femme fatale to ever melt a movie screen. For more about “The Girl Hunt Ballet”, follow the link below to a December 2018 post here at The Stiletto Gumshoe.
As for Cyd Charisse, that would be Tula Ellice Finklea from Amarillo, Texas, who first went by Felia Sidrova and later Maria Istomina while dancing with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in her late teens and early twenties (when she married fellow dancer Nico Charisse). She became ‘Cyd’ when talent scouts lured her to Hollywood…though even that would be after a brief stint going by Lily Norwood. A woman of many names, indeed. That Charisse was a dancer (and one of Hollywood’s all-time greats) is doubly amazing considering that she began studying ballet to build up her body during a sickly childhood and a bout with polio.
If an MGM musical star still needed any more mystery/crime/noir cred after her memorable “The Girl Hunt Ballet” performance, check out Nicholas Ray’s 1958 Party Girl, where Charisse is a cynical Chi-Town showgirl mixed up with gangsters and falling for a crooked mob lawyer. It didn’t do so well here in the U.S. and is rarely listed among better known postwar film noir and crime melodramas, but oddly enough it’s gained some sort of cult following among European crime film fans. As luck would have it, Party Girl airs on Sunday evening 9.6.20 (this post being written days ago).
The fashion editorial is titled “Film Noir” simply enough, shot by Nathaniel Goldberg for Numero in 2017, styled by David Bradshaw and starring Guinevere Van Seenus as the platinum haired femme fatale.
Like an episode of Law & Order or Perry Mason, re-outfitted in haute couture by Vogue Russia in 2011: Photographer Alexi Lubomirski shoots Model Constance Jablonski, who may be on trial but seems un-phased by all the courtroom drama, apparently confident she can charm the jury and won’t be trading in her stylish duds for a prison jumpsuit anytime soon.