The art of seduction: Style inspiration from cinema's greatest — and most dangerous — femme fatales on Valentine's Day
Crazy (sometimes literally) in love
We could rattle off a litany of adorkable and relatable romantic heroines in our sleep, and, in all likelihood, so could you, dear reader. But let's be honest: love and the pursuit of it can often be a battlefield (have you been on a dating app recently?) where only the toughest survive; plus, in fashion as in dialogue, fictional good girls seldom get the best costumes. In preparation for the neediness-and-abandonment orgy that is Valentine's Day 2019, we've gathered a list of the most stylish and role model-worthy — note the sarcasm, we're not endorsing murder or blackmail as legitimate means of finding happily ever after — femme fatales in the cinematic canon. Heck, lie, cheat, steal and kill if that's what it really takes to get you through V-Day... Just make sure you have a rock-solid alibi and a sexy slip to boot.
Jessica Rabbit/Kathleen Turner in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, 1988
Best line: "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way."
Style signature: Second-skin, sequined gowns paired with elbow gloves.
Rap sheet: Getting blackmailed into playing Patty Cake — no, that's not a euphemism — with a man who wasn't her husband.
Femme fatale score: 1
Richard Gere in American Gigolo, 1980
Best line: None. Richard Gere seemed to enjoy the same dialogue limitations that have plagued, like, every actress since the dawn of talkies. Reverse sexism rules!
Style signature: Armani everything.
Rap sheet: Failure to disclose that Armani wardrobe sponsorship.
Femme fatale/homme fatal score: 2
Anne Bancroft in The Graduate, 1967
Best line: "I'm not trying to seduce you... Would you like me to seduce you?"
Style signature: '60s MILF style, i.e. plenty of black and/or animal print.
Rap sheet: Pursuing an extramarital affair with her daughter's love interest, even though, you know, mama did technically bag him first...
Femme fatale score: 3
Michelle Pfeiffer in Scarface, 1983
Best line: "Hey, Jose, who, why, when, and how I f*ck is none of your business, okay?"
Style signature: Revealing slip gowns. Obvious, but effective.
Rap sheet: Making xenophobic comments about Cubans, having a cocaine freakout in a fancy restaurant (who hasn't? *Yawns*)
Femme fatale score: 4
Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct, 1992
Best line: N/A. Just let your hoo-ha do all the talking.
Style signature: Going commando.
Rap sheet: Suspected murder, playing into problematic AF, 'crazy bisexual' stereotypes.
Femme fatale score: 5
Marilyn Monroe in Niagara, 1953
Best line: None, really, but tons of peak Marilyn, pouty jaw movements.
Style signature: Jewel-toned sheaths and sexually aggressive cone bras.
Rap sheet: Hijacking a party playlist. Oh, and conspiracy to murder.
Femme fatale score: 6
Nicole Kidman in To Die For, 1995
Best line: "What's the point of doing anything worthwhile if nobody's watching?", which pretty much sums up our work ethic at the office. (Jks)
Style signature: Deceptively non-threatening, colorful miniskirt suits.
Rap sheet: Conspiracy to murder.
Femme fatale score: 7
Grace Jones in A View to a Kill, 1985
Best line: *Androgynous death stare*
Style signature: Shoulder pads, and lots of black — preferably in leather or pinstripes.
Rap sheet: Multiple murders, sleeping with James Bond and by consequence setting back the women's lib movement.
Femme fatale score: 8
Kathleen Turner in Body Heat, 1981
Best line: "You're not too smart, are you? I like that in a man."
Style signature: Unbuttoned shirtwaister dresses and blouses, presumably for releasing all that titular body heat (worst movie title ever).
Rap sheet: Identity theft, murder, attempted murder.
Femme fatale score: 9
Glenn Close in Dangerous Liaisons, 1988
Best line: "I've always known I was always born to dominate your sex and avenge my own."
Style signature: Respectable and tastefully extravagant 18th century fashions, the better to disguise your debauched inner nature with.
Rap sheet: Defamation, grooming, human trafficking, possible manslaughter.
Femme fatale score: 10(00)