The eyes of Laura Mars 1978- and glamorised violence in the fashion industry

eyes of laura mars

Film over view: Laura Mars (Played by Faye Dunaway) is a glamourous fashion photographer who specialises in stylised violence- set in New York. The character faces judgement and controversy labelling her work as demeaning towards women and glorifying violence.  Miss Mars begins seeing the murders and brutalisation of her inner circle through the eyes of an estranged killer. John Neville (Tommy Lee Jones) is the lieutenant in charge of the case, and believes that what Mars is telling him is the truth, seeking her help in finding the killer. And in a tense and electric build up, the film results in an unexpected twist, questioning all that Mars believes and loves.

‘The films mysterious and sometimes violent murders are offset by the beautiful fashion editorials, creating an eerily glamourous movie wardrobe that must not be missed’ -Harpers Bazaar

the eyes of laura
Image form the film- mid shoot with character Laura Mars photographing models

What Irvin Kushner (director) had grasped at the time is that within the fashion industry (i.e. in fashion magazines and editorials) consumers were accepting violence, and still do! The idea of ‘the beautiful corpse’, juxtaposes luxury with death and brutality. The movie is effective in its method, placing the male gaze of women’s murdered bodies in the point of view of the female protagonist- there is no way of ignoring such a powerful thought process. And in my opinion, no way of ignoring the questions posed by this idea.

In the late nineteenth century Edgar Allen wrote ‘The death of a beautiful women is, unquestionably, the most poetic topic in the world’

But why??! Why as consumers have we become numb to seeing images of dead looking, bloodied or bruised models? Many have the opinion that it promotes domestic violence, or is glorifying violence against women. Likewise, I question how appropriate it is to continually be exposed to issues within femininity, masculinity, sex, pleasure and consent? But of course one can always argue how fashion photography has its own artistic importance and social value. When does it stop being art, why are we so accustom to seeing images of violence in fashion?

d&g ad 2007
A D&G advert from 2007

In my opinion I loved the film. At first reluctant, disproving of the dated acting but soon fell in love with with essence of the movie- finding it seductively chic. However, once I had watch the movie and once I had looked further into the glamorised hostility towards women I was overwhelmed by the amount of violence I had been exposed to already within the industry. As a fashion student and young women I feel provoked to ask question as to why imagery like this have become an acceptable from of commercial speech?

lara stone steven klein
Lara Stone in a 2009 editorial shoot by Steven Klein for Vogue Paris

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