AWE (A Woman’s Experience)

Article Title

Gilda's Gowns


Rachel Ann Wise


film noir, Gilda, femme fatale, fashion, dress, fatal woman


Critics have overanalyzed the portrayal of the femme fatale in film noir as female ruthless seduction in attempts to overpower men. However, a paramount aspect of the femme fatale has been under analyzed—women’s use of and exploitation of fashion. In film noir, Gilda particularly showcases the importance of fashion in the film’s plot. Gilda’s undressing and dressing in the film signifies the multifarious personalities and complexity of the femme fatale character. In understand Gilda’s character via her diegetic, fashionable, and mutable clothes, the femme fatale is exposed as a complex being defying stereotype by the variety of her wardrobe, but who nonetheless is fashioned in her black slinky dresses by masculine constructions of the fatal woman.