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  • Writer's pictureFashion and Retail Association

Film Noir Meets Femme Fatale & Patrick Demarchelier

Updated: Sep 15, 2022

By: Oura Miyazaki

BU Fashion and Retail is hosting a fashion show on April 16th, 2022 aligned with the theme: “Film Noir Meets Femme Fatale.” Visitors are welcome to attend the event in any semi-formal attire they like. (Check out other blogs on our website for semi-formal dress options.) If you are also thinking about matching our theme…this blog is for you.

“Film noir” and “femme fatale”

As beautiful and rhythmical as these phrases sound, they can be tricky to understand. Merriam Webster defines film noir as “a type of crime film featuring cynical malevolent characters in a sleazy setting and an ominous atmosphere that is conveyed by shadowy photography and foreboding background music.” Well, that pretty much says it all. You can probably imagine old Hollywood movies in which handsome male detectives with trench coats and fedora hats are accompanied by mysteriously gorgeous women. These women personify “femme fatale” by luring men into perilous situations with their charm and allure. All in all, a film noir with femme fatale characters will entice you into a mysterious world with lots of chiaroscuro (contrast of light and shadow) and chilling music that runs through your veins.

Seeking Guidance from Patrick Demarchelier

The legendary fashion photographer Patrick Demarchelier became an angel last month, leaving behind unmatched fashion photography. He skillfully consumed every theme and created a wide range of atmospheres with his camera. Today, we are going to consider Demarchelier’s works to interpret film noir and femme fatale. Note that while many of his pictures are in black and white, they do not guarantee the actual colors of the costumes. Visitors are welcome to paint our event in colors other than black and white.

Let the Hats Do the Magic

In these images, Demarchelier captures women in particular hats. Pulling inspirations from these styles, consider donning a fancy hat you found in a thrift store or spontaneously bought on an adventurous shopping spree but never had the courage to wear. By capturing their fleeting expressions underneath the hats, Demarchelier proves that hats enhance these women’s charms. Whether it be a beret, cloche, or floppy hat, the hats boldly stand out within the dark and light contrasts in his photos — just as you would be by entering the fashion show with a hat of your style.

Leave Some Space for Kendra Scott Jewelry

These women embody sexy low-cut attires that liberate space for decorations around their chests, reinforcing their mysterious charm. One woman ties a voluminous ribbon at the ends of her grandeur hat, occupying her neck with feminine detail. We would love to see you wear something as dramatic as her ribbon. But do not worry too much about wearing the perfect necklace for your low-cut top or dress because we have some prepared for you. Upon your arrival, our sponsor Kendra Scott will be presenting an open trunk with her stunning jewelry pieces. Consider coupling your low-cut clothes with the jewelry you might fall in love with at the event.


Demarchelier beautifully captures these models in body length, extending their clothes that emphasize length. On the left, the model wears a gorgeous corset top with a slender, long skirt. She gravitates our attention toward her lengthy shawl, a possible detail you might want to try for our event. You might also consider a suit, a creative approach to femme fatale. The model heightens her look with splendid Vera Wang heels, making her legs look longer. By choosing your shoes carefully, your look can be extended literally and aesthetically.

Remember, it is not just women who are invited to our fashion show. Check below for some more ideas.

Becoming the Film Noir Star

For a TUMI campaign, Demarchelier captures this male model who embodies a suit, possibly a turtleneck, and a fedora hat—reminiscent of male characters in film noir. He also surrounds himself with various TUMI bags, which might inspire some of our potential visitors to enter our event with a bag as an accessory. Also pay attention to details, such as a watch, ring, or necktie, to further pursue film noir.

Modernizing Film Noir

Here, Demarchelier suggests film noir aesthetics with a modern touch. Consider avant-garde approaches to your usual hairstyle or makeup—regardless of your gender identity. To sophisticate your look, consider adding unique details such as brooches, gloves, sunglasses, or nail polish to top off your simple, monochrome look.

Some Makeup Inspiration:

We hope to see you at our fashion show on April 16th at 4 pm! We are thrilled to see some of you undertake film noir and/or femme fatale styles. Come prepared to have some fun in our film noir world! More details about our fashion show can be found here.

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