What Do You Wear To A Break-In?

Rianne ten Haken 1

A sleek black jumpsuit, soft sole shoes and hair tucked under a knit cap would seem like optimal cat burglar attire. Of course, if your name’s Selina Kyle, you could go with night vision goggles and cat ears instead. Couture frocks, patterned hose and heels might be a suitable ensemble for a boutique clerk’s job, but destined for ruin if burglary’s your trade.

Rianne ten Haken 2

Not so for Rianne ten Haken, apparently, who’s shot here by photographer David Burton in a 2012 Elle Russia photo suite. Maybe Haken’s adhered to that old saw about dressing for the position you aspire to, not the one you’re currently in. And who knows? Maybe she’ll have her own opulent digs…once she fences all that loot, that is.

And don’t ask what the editorial’s title is. I don’t speak Russian.

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Adriana, The Femme Fatale

Adriana Lima Vogue Brazil 2013 1

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.

Spy Story

‘Spy Story’ Shalom Harlow by Ellen Von Unwerth

If you’re foolish enough to be wandering around a dark subway tunnel, and more foolish still to approach the woman in black lurking down there, then you deserve whatever happens to you. This is Shalom Harlow by Ellen von Unwerth from a fashion editorial titled “Spy Story”.

 

Got A Light?

femme fatale by sergey bogomyakov 500 px

A gentleman ought to whip out his lighter. But what she’ll do once that cigarette’s lit is anyone’s guess. “Femme Fatale” by Sergey Bogomyakov, from 500px.

“Our Last Hours Before He Killed Himself”

olga sherer by elisabeth toll bon magazine 2009 our last hours before he killed himself

I often say that many ‘artsier’ and edgier fashion editorials tell a story, or mean to at any rate. But even if creative directors, art directors and photographers have lofty narrative goals, the purpose of the shoots is to sell clothes. Or shoes, makeup, accessories or whatever.

But when a shoot is titled “Our Last Hours Before He Killed Himself”, as is this one by Elisabeth Toll with model Olga Sherer for a 2009 issue of Bon magazine…well, clearly the creative team had something narrative in mind. And that’s one hell of  title.

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New Orleans Noir

Streetcar of desire 1992 - 2

The copy for “Streetcar Of Desire”, a 1992 Harper’s Bazaar fashion editorial, almost reads like the cover tease for a steamy noir or erotic thriller (minus all the ‘lets-sell-pricey-lingerie’ stuff). “Languorous, sexual, darkly colored, (it) could be inspired by love and lust. These are looks to feed the flame of longing and light up the shadows of a summer night (with) reflections of Blanche DuBois – silk and lace against lily-white skin”. Hmmm, listen to my keyboard sizzle. Shot by Phillip Dixon, model Tatjana Patitz is more a French Quarter femme fatale than Blanche Dubois’ fey and faded beauty, but the images are enough to inspire any noir’s doomed love affair.

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Black Friday

Lila Cardona 1

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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L.A., 1990.

Jennifer Tilly 1990

She’d be a fully accredited film noir goddess for her performance in 1996’s Bound if nothing else, though she’s played her share of other femmes fatales and bad girlz. Above is Jennifer Tilly looking languid but still dangerous in an L.A. hotel room from 1990.

Femmes Fatales ‘Round The World (Even Romania)

XaviRo 1

There’s more to Romania than Transylvania and Count Dracula. There’s Mihai Cvasnievschi at Bucharest’s XaviRo Studio, master of analog and digital portrait, commercial and art photography. There’s much to see at the xavi.ro site, but here are some striking femmes fatale (or ‘stiletto gumshoes’…you decide) images spotted there. ‘Noir’, classic noir, neo-noir, Euro-noir…whatever.  Dark and dangerous is always a lovely but lethal look.

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