Clothing conveys much about a movie character's intent. Chaps and ten gallons reveal that a cowboy is ready to hit the trail in a western, while tutus and tuxes hint that dancers are about to shake it in a musical.
As for a slinky, big-shouldered gown seen on a character lingering in a shadowy corner? You can bet a femme fatale is about to stir the plot in a film noir. The black-and-white hard-boiled gems of the '30s and 1940s relied heavily on frocks and stockings to trumpet a person's status, wealth and potentially unsavory intent.
Those frocks, stockings, and saucy anklets -- hello, Barbara Stanwyck in "Double Indemnity" -- will get the full treatment at the Egyptian Theatre on Saturday, April 25. Historian Kimberly Truhler will stop by the historic venue to talk noir and the glamourous get-ups film characters wore when they got up to no good.
The afternoon of fashion and intrigue follows the Film Noir Festival, which runs at the Egyptian from April 3 through 19.
For sure, film noir had its heroines and goodhearts, too. But it was a movie movement that gave both women and men equal footing in the planning, conniving and brilliant scheming department. The dudes held no more power than the dames.
"Gilda" with Rita Hayworth will screen after the 2 p.m. fashion talk (the film's at 3:15 p.m.). Ms. Hayworth's stunning evening gown is one of the sartorial symbols of film noir, and few on-screen dresses have matched it for allure and visual kapow.
Whether you wear your own anklet, feathery mules or huge-shouldered suit to the event is up to you. If you call Southern California home, though, film noir should be one of your fashion inspirations, from time to time. It's a homegrown genre, a style that simmers with iconic accessories and silhouettes.
Look to a later noir, 1982's "Blade Runner," and Rachael, as played by Sean Young. The lines of Rachael's suit, and her Victory Roll hairstyle, are as iconically LA, with a dash of future-past sci-fi flair, as LA looks get.