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Femmes Fatales

January 14, 2015

The words femmes fatales sound so glamorous and elegant, and you may think you have an idea of what it is, what it entails and fancy a little of it yourself. You may also be reluctant to admit that you’re not entirely sure you know what it is in the first place.


If you fancy some femmes fatales glamour and mystery, then you’ve come to the right place. For here, you’ll find out exactly what femmes fatales are and how you can become one yourself.

What are femmes fatales anyway?

Some believe femmes fatales came about in the forties, but it goes back much further than that. In French, femme fatale is “fatal woman,” question is, is that fatal for you, or for someone else?


Femmes fatales were around as far back as the Middle Ages and was the essence of unbridled sexuality and mystery. As time wore on they appeared in films, literature and poetry. Once such poem was written by Rudyard Kipling, who himself had been inspired by a painting by Philip Burne-Jones called “The Vampire,” this inspired Kipling to write a poem with the same name.

The Vampire by Philip Burne-Jones

The Vampire by Philip Burne-Jones


Keats wrote “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” and “Lamia” in honour of the femme fatale and Marquis de Sade gave us Juliette, his version of the femme fatale.




Illustration in Juliette 2, by the Marquis de Sade

Illustration in Juliette 2, by the Marquis de Sade


From there we get the “Vamp” which was featured in the film “A Fool there Was” with Theda Bara inspired by Kiplings poem. And the “vamp,” or femme fatale was born properly into the 20th century consciousness and is still with us today.

Theda Bara-skeletor

Femmes Fatales-Theda Bara-skeletor


Vampish villainess with a mysterious edge

The femme fatale, or vamp if you want to call her that, can be many things. She is seductive and mysterious, she may even have magical powers, she ensnares her lover and makes him do exactly what she wants him to do by using anything she can think of, this may include coercion and even lies.

Femmes Fatales inspiration- la belle dam sans merci

Femmes Fatales inspiration- la belle dam sans merci


She is a true villain as well as a vamp and is every bit as charming, using her sexual allure to capture her victims. As bad as she is, she is always capable of remorse, or redemption. She can become the heroine if she chooses and save the day.

How do femmes fatales dress?

If you are emulating the truly sexual woman who is capable of doing anything to get her man, then you must dress accordingly. This need not involve dressing half naked, femmes fatales are classy and never cheap, but whatever you wear, you must be provocative and stylish enough to garner all the attention. No lover can be captured if you choose to remain in the shadows.


Shimmering dresses, high-heeled shoes, preferably in black are de rigeur. Perhaps a body hugging body con dress that clings in all the right places, with a carefully chosen corset beneath, layers your prey cannot wait to peel off and reveal.

Cats eyes see in the dark

Dark cats eyes with smoky eye shadow, sultry glossy lips and ivory skin helps to create the illusion of vampiristic glamour. No spray tans, you’re looking for timeless beauty, not Magaluf at dawn.


High heeled sandals with an ankle strap are good, in a shiny patent leather, you don’t want to go too fetish on the shoe and frighten your potential lover away, so no spikes or too many buckles. You want to seem coquettish, yet dangerous, flirty yet distant. You want your prey to feel you can be won over, that is the cunning of femmes fatales, they use their beauty and charm to win over suitors.

She’s smart and always one step ahead

Femme fatales are intelligent, smart and well read, with an answer to every question that is as provocative and mysterious as their outfit. Their answers are almost always finished as questions, provoking their prey to find out as much as he can about them, always being drawn in even further.


Really, at the end of the day, you can create your femme fatale as you wish, she is your own special creation, what you see here are just a few tips to guide you. You must follow your own inner vamp and dress to kill in your own way, in your own imitable style, for the femme fatale is always her own woman.



Ava gardner plays Kitty Collins in ‘The Killers’

Smoke and Veil’, Evelyn Tripp 1958