• Olivia Stalker

Fashion Film Fun: Tainted love...the mystique of the outlaw couple

An intense and desperate type of love is shared in the iconic outlaw couple. Built on unwavering loyalty, devotion, and passion, their relationship is often rooted in a need to belong and be understood. These couples share a fatalistic bond, which they test by skirting the rules and norms of society; forcing themselves into an us-against-the-world dependency. The thrills they pursue in acts of defiance and violence cement their bond and fan the flames of their ardor.

Their riveting stories, rife with sexually charged energy and often gruesome outcomes, are a natural subject for Hollywood to explore. The high-paced films of these couples' exploits leave the viewers wondering which the characters crave more, excitement or each other, and have us rooting for the anti-heroes along the way.

Below we examine a few of the most stylish films based on notorious couples.

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Director: Arthur Penn | Starring: Warren Beatty & Faye Dunaway

Bonnie and Clyde, most iconic outlaw couple

The 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde brings the story of the most notorious outlaw couple to the big screen. Director Arthur Penn grabs the audience's attention by making the on-the-run lifestyle the couple lives appear both adventurous and glamorous. It debuted to much controversy since it glamorized the story of real life outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow and showed more on screen violence than any other film of its time. It's no wonder that Bonnie (Faye Dunaway), a small town Texas girl, is as much intrigued by Clyde's (Warren Beatty) need to scheme as she is charmed by his good looks and dashing style. Together, they decide to defy the gloomy way of life instilled by the Great Depression and set out on a life of crime, which promises them anything but boredom. Along the way the pair falls in love; their tainted love defies the confines of typical romance, as they are linked not only by their rebellious natures but also by the crimes they commit. Until their last breath, their loyalty stands unshaken.

This film not only gained notoriety for its story-line, but also for its seductive style. The way in which Bonnie and Clyde dress makes their criminal lifestyle appear glamorous. They stand in stark contrast with the grim Depression-era setting not only in dress, but also in their exuberant mood. Bonnie even cultivates a more sophisticated and glamorous demeanor as the film plays on; transitioning from naive white dresses and blouses to more low cut tops, a sophisticated windowpane trench coat and of course her neck scarf and beret tipped just so. Clyde sports dapper three piece suits, and a classic fedora, with a gun holster as a permanent accessory. They are proud of their identity and dress the part, even finding joy in being recognized for their crimes. Bonnie and Clyde embody 1930's elegance even while running from the law. Since the film's debut their look has been the inspiration for many designers, and other artists such as singer Serge Gainsbourg and their outlaw style has even influenced countless fashion editorials. Bonnie and Clyde was able to make the life of a criminal appear glamorous and desirable, not an easy feat.

Natural Born Killers (1994)

Director: Oliver Stone | Starring: Woody Harrelson & Juliette Lewis

Natural Born killers, a movie following a couple on the run committing crimes

Natural Born Killers is another Hollywood movie which follows a couple's path from outcasts, to lovers, to killers. The 1994 film directed by Oliver Stone shows the fatal side of love, and the calamitous ways in which loyalty and commitment can be used. Micky (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory Knox (Juliette Lewis) start their killing spree with the murder of Mallory's abusive father, and from there begin a trail of crimes which leaves the media on the edge of their seat waiting for the next incident to occur. This psychotic couple turns their lifestyle into a game and cultivates their notorious reputation by leaving one witness at each scene to relay the story to the public. With no motives of money or revenge they simply kill just for kicks. Their undying yet twisted love seals their catastrophic fate as they have committed to each other for life.

Throughout the movie Micky and Mallory find pleasure in dressing flamboyantly and maintained their badass images. Their style is quintessential American rebel: Micky dresses in a black leather biker jacket and jeans with ostentatious belt buckles and sunglasses, while Mallory spends much of her time in crop tops, and shorts or jeans, with studded chokers, crazy earrings, or scarves (a nod to Bonnie, perhaps?). When she does wear a sweet print or dress, it feels ironic, as if she is daring you to make the mistake that she is an innocent girl to be underestimated. There are several scenes in which they wear red alluding to their murderous and passionate temperaments. Both criminals dress to captivate media and public attention and use their rebellious style to attain iconic status.