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Dressed to kill: Six femme-fatale looks that you want to mess with

Femme fatale is a look that both invites a stare and issues a warning

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Slink shot: Kitty Collins, the scheming seductress played by Ava Gardner in the 1946 noir classic The Killers, would have double-crossed just about anyone to get her hands on the dress shown here, from Alexander Wang’s much-lauded first collection for Balenciaga. Embroidery Dots gown and goatskin heels by Balenciaga, approximately $4,000 and $800 at Holt Renfrew ( Double Knot brass bracelets by Balenciaga, $425 (U.S.) each through Fulham lounge chair, $1,595 at Elte (

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Vamp classic: Scene-stealing hair, dramatic smoky eyes and dark maroon lips are neo-noir beauty musts, as are oval-tipped nails in a vampy hue. If you attempt the latter, consider leaving the bottom of the nails (or half moons) unvarnished or painted in a neutral shade – a style of manicure that peaked during the 1940s, but looks fresh again this season. Wool-blend Anthra Dakar dress by Dries Van Noten, approximately $1,375 at Bacci’s (, 119 Corbò (, Cahier d’Exercices (, Holt Renfrew ( and Simons ( Feathered Talia jacket by Dries Van Noten, price on request at Forty Five Ten ( Blooming Flower Pyramid pavé ring by M.C.L. by Matthew Campbell Laurenza, $595 (U.S.) through

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Suits her: An immaculately tailored skirt suit was every femme fatale’s no-nonsense daytime uniform. For fall, Gucci’s Frida Giannini offered a decidedly less modest take on the classic look, showing décolletage- and clavicle-exposing silk jackets with knee-length pencil skirts. Silk Duchesse jacket and skirt, $2,450 and $1,195 at Gucci ( Aged gold and antique copper gingko-leaf necklace, $825 at Tory Burch (

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Dial M for miu miu … or ring up any other clothing boutique carrying the label: Its destined-to-sell-out hourglass-shaped wool coats are likely going to require getting your name on a waiting list. Operators are standing by. Silk-and-wool coat by Miu Miu, approximately $6,100 at select retailers or through System 1-2-3 lounge chair by Panton, $4,300 (U.S.) at Design Within Reach (

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Showstopper: Halt traffic – literally – in this little black Carven dress featuring an abstracted digital print evoking a car’s illuminated brake lights on a dark, stormy night. Dress by Carven, approximately $1,180 at select retailers or through Faux Nappa leather shoes by Stella McCartney, $955 (U.S.) through Rose-gold-plated pearl-point drop earrings by Mawi, $410 at Secret Location (

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The big picture: At the Marc by Marc Jacobs fall show, hairstylist Guido Palau pin-curled and back-brushed models’ hair, creating contemporary takes on the kinky manes sported by early noir stars such as Hedy Lamarr. The fortuitous result: voluminous bursts of face-framing curls to complement the exaggerated silhouettes of forties-inspired dresses. Arte Povera dress by Bottega Veneta, approximately $3,760 through Osiris Crown bracelet by M.C.L. by Matthew Campbell Laurenza, $4,000 (U.S.) through

Justin Borbely/The Globe and Mail

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