Tuesday,21 May, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1169, (24 - 30 October 2013)
Tuesday,21 May, 2019
Issue 1169, (24 - 30 October 2013)

Ahram Weekly

Film noir fall fashion

Is this the killing season? Should we be prepared to fight those Halloween “ghoulies and ghosties, and long-leggedy beasties”? Has Halloween been around all year long, or does it just seem like it?

Consider the creepy films and hit TV shows about vampires and zombies and other scary “things that go bump in the night”. Our living reality is more terrifying and more blood-curdling than all the dead and half-dead created by our imagination.

We can walk away from a movie-theatre, turn off our TV sets, but how can we walk away from Syria and Iraq? How can we turn off Somalia and Kenya? Perhaps it is indeed the season to kill or be killed.

It has been our custom to review the year’s fashion trends for the spring/summer and fall/winter seasons. Yet it is deeply depressing to contemplate fashion during such turbulent times of darkness and danger. However we may have tarried too long, for the days are getting shorter, the mornings crispier and the evenings, downright cool. It is time for a change of wardrobe, no matter how half-hearted our efforts may be.

Though fashion is “folly’s child and guide of fools”, here it is and cannot be ignored. Like any art form it reflects the conditions of our society. As we long for the simpler days of yesteryear, so do this season’s designers who have expressed their nostalgia for the 1930s and 40s, when innocence was still unblemished and simplicity was supreme. 

Remember those fascinatingly intriguing film noir genres, how they engaged and enchanted us with their plots of mystery and suspense, when men were men and women were women? That indigo mood dominates the season’s fashion.

Under the direction of creative designer Frida Giannini, the House of Gucci takes us back in time to those sleek and sensuous styles of the seductive femme fatale. Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton almost scandalised clients by transforming a sexy negligee into a day dress for haute luncheons. Prada also sent “dressed to kill” ladies on her runway, in lingerie styles.

If you are more coy and demure forget the feisty femme fatale look; yours is the refinement of the classics. Classic clothing never goes out of style and no one delivers it with more aplomb than Fashion’s Master Tailor, Karl Lagerfeld. “Fashion is the only thing that travels backward and forward”, proclaims the master, “from the old world to the new.” For the House of Chanel, Lagerfeld delivers a dark expressionist mood, intermingling the past with the future, using that classic colour combination of black and white He too longs for the dark landscapes of the legendary filmmaker Fritz Lang. “You know my whole life is a Fritz Lang moment.”

Celine also opts for black and white, so does Calvin Klein and Proenza Shouler. We all have that combo in our closets and with a little creativity they can look as tomorrow’s fresh dewy dawn.

The name that always evokes taste and elegance is Italy’s Giorgio Armani. He too leans towards the sensual style of old Hollywood, but you can trust Armani’s ladies to be ever so lady-like.

Black is plentiful this season, but there are those who find black boring — shocking. If you prefer technicolor to black and white, then emerald green may be the hue. Make it as dark as you can, replacing the classic black. Velvet is stunning in that shade. More colour is available for candy lovers, such as dusty pink, soft orange, soft mauve and the perennial favourite winter white. Soft ivory exudes optimism and tranquillity, much needed to ease our endless anxieties. Combine your colour palette with khaki, copper, navy or grey, to recreate a touch of the glamour of the 1930s and 40s. Remember that if the garment is colourful you notice the colour, but if it is black, you notice the shape.

Men’s wear is big this season. Feel free to pillage your man’s closet for that masculine, oversized look. That must be what designer Stella McCartney did with her oversized coats and voluminous trousers. Grandpa’s cardigan will do fine, thank you, and any unisex clothing must be easy on the budget.

Punk grunge continues for the younger set with lots of tartan, mohair, fishnet socks and stomping boots. Leather is a trend that endures. Opt for deep blue or rich burgundy, instead of “boring” black leather.

Accessories allow a change of texture from metal belts and lattice work to monkey fur and fun feathers. Layering is key and should be easy with all the over-sized dressing.

Downsize your baggage and ditch your over-sized satchel that almost broke your back. Do you really need all your make-up, sewing kit and kitchen sink in there?

There are no rules for hair styles… anything goes with the clothes — bobs, crops, bangs, curly, shoulder length or pulled back in a bun or pony-tail, depending on the attire.

The focus in make-up is the eyes and lips. Burnt orange shades with cranberry lips, or hunter-green eye-shadow for a wood nymph creature are both flattering. If you long for the perfect winged eye-liner that was in, oh so long ago, you may indulge this season.

Fashion has much to offer for fall, if you remember to simplify, simplify.

The lure of high-style or “le dernier cri” may be tempting, but there is more to life than appearance, or is there?


“It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances.”

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

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