Now there’s a gal who knows how to have a good time! Picture it, Simone Simon is Irena, a fashion designer who feels compelled to loiter around the panther cage at the zoo. She believes she has inherited a curse which will change her into a murderous panther whenever she gets aroused, so she keeps her besotted husband at arms’ length. Frozen out, the husband is drawn to another woman, cue tension-filled scenes in a darkened street, a deserted swimming pool, the sound of stiletto heels hitting the dark sidewalk with purposeful intent, and a towelling dressing gown shredded with claw marks… Oh man, Cat People (1942) has got to be one of the best horror/noir films ever. It has that magic combination of a passionate and smart woman, looking fabulous and behaving fiendishly; who can resist?
Part of the atmosphere has to be down to black and white cinematography; a chiaroscuro contrast between sinister shadows and porcelain skin. Simone predominantly wears black throughout the film, often with shoulders, throat and arms bare – vulnerable and sweet, but also dangerous and savage. It’s a great look and it will never date because, frankly, we need that kind of sexy drama in our lives, right? Recreate this iconic look in Rhonda’s Revenge, a classic pencil dress with off-the-shoulder neckline and traditional front-boned bodice to encourage a sassy sashay from your chassis! Matt dark lips (Mac Ruby Woo for the brave or Lipstick Queen Medieval – an easier red that suits everyone) and some eff me pumps – and we’re off. Now kitty, play nicely!
By Hazel Orriss