The 1940s saw the birth of film noir and the femme fatale. Hollywood stars like Lauren Bacall, Katherine Hepburn and Rita Hayworth redefined the way women behaved on screen.
Video: Rita Hayworth in Gilda (1946)
Katherine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Video: Lauren Bacall in To Have and To Have Not (1944)
Fashion embraced the vampy silhouettes of film noir heroines as well as the masculine tailoring of the feisty adventuress. On the one hand you had the escapism of Hollywood sirens draped in silk - an incredibly expensive fabric during wartime - and on the other, the heroism of strong, fearless women in tailored suits and shoulder pads.
Cary Grant & Katherine Hepburn
A new kind elegance appeared in fashion magazines: self-assured and incredibly chic...
Mademoiselle magazine, 1944
Contemporary designers return to the 1940s silhouette season after season. The strong shoulders, nipped-in waist and knee-length hemline are incredibly flattering.
Dior channelled Bacall's style - as well as the dramatic lighting of film noir - in their Spring 2010 campaign:
Karen Elson, W Magazine
The 'novelty print' that was ubiquitous on the AW12 runways was first introduced in the wartime decade to make the most of rationed fabric.
We recently sold a stunning 1940s dress made from pale salmon-pink crepe and embellished with hundreds of matte white beads.
Miu Miu AW11
We have some beautiful 1940s dresses in dark florals, as seen at the AW11 shows. This particular frock has an amazing sash on the right hip that flutters as you walk.
To view in our online store click here
Earlier this year we sold a 1940s red crepe dress with embellished sleeves. The shoulder pads add a dramatic silhouette.
If you prefer this vampy look, we have a stunning 1940s cocktail frock in heart-print black silk in stock at the moment. The dress was featured in Summary Magazine as part of their film noir-themed editorial, styled by Charlie Anderson.
To view the dress in our online store click here.
Celebrities love the look because it's so incredibly flattering. This silhouette really does suit every shape and size.
Carey Mulligan in Roland Mouret
Dita von Teese
YSL Tribute pumps are the perfect accessory for this look...
To buy online click here