“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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And Some More Suarez…

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Some more work from Santiago, Chile concept artist and illustrator Fernanda Suarez, who may be familiar to many for her intriguing artistic rethinks of famous Disney characters. Suarez’ gorgeous work is easily located at Art Station, Tumblr, DeviantArt and elsewhere (a couple links are below to get you started). Now, much of the work is quite witchy, mystic and fantasy oriented, along with some very fetching vampiric looking ladies of the night, but all quite stunning, even if that’s not your thing.  You have to dig deep to locate the slightly more ‘noir-ish’ among the pieces, but its’ well worth the search.

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Nightlife, 1976.

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Mid-seventies decadence, reminiscent of the provocative Helmut Newton photos shot for the 1978 film The Eyes Of Laura Mars about Faye Dunaway’s edgy fashion photographer stalked by a psycho killer. Here Chris von Wangenheim shot Patti Hansen for Christina Dior’s 1976 “Nightlife Is Your Dior” campaign, juxtaposing elegant couture cocktail gowns with flaming car wrecks, and doing it, well…just ‘cuz.

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New Orleans Noir

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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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Ice Picks & Fishnets

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You see blonde hair, then the ice pick, and might assume that it’s Sharon Stone as Catherine Tramell, the murderous mystery novelist in Paul Verhoeven’s 1992 Basic Instinct. Not quite that character’s look, though. And no, it’s actually Madonna, shot by Mert + Marcus in 2010, ramming her pick into a wood floor instead of Michael Douglas.

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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Bramanto’s Femme Fatale

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Assisted by Reza Bustami and Phillip Kwok, photographer Julius Bramanto’s photo suite, called simply “Femme Fatale”, looks  right out of a 1990’s erotic thriller, and is a reminder that pickups and hookups don’t always end well, since love (or lust) can be a deadly affair.

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Still Room In The Trunk?

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A gangster and his gun moll? Could be that she’s the leader of the gang, her boy carting luggage and loading the trunk (hopefully not shoving a body or kidnap victim aside to make room for her bags). So lets not make assumptions. A nifty B&W from photographer Eugenio Recuenco. And a pretty nifty Citroen too.

 

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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