The Inhuman Woman

France 1924. Dir Marcel L'Herbier.

With Jaque Catelain, Georgette Leblanc, Philippe Hériat.

Costumes Paul Poiret, Yose, Maison Granier.

Introduced by Caroline Evans, Professor of Fashion History and Theory at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and author of Fashion at the Edge: Spectacle, Modernity and Deathliness (2003) and The Mechanical Smile: Modernism and the First Fashion Shows in France and America 1900-1929 (2013).

Anticipating the 1925 Paris Exposition, this cult science-fiction drama was conceived as an ambitious opera arte totale on which L’Herbier famously collaborated with many prominent figures of the inter-war cultural avant-garde, including designers Alberto Cavalcanti and Claude Autant-Lara, couturier Paul Poiret and glassmaker René Lalique. Against imposing Modernist sets by architect Robert Mallet-Stevens and artist Fernand Léger, a young scientist falls in love with the opera singer Claire Lescot and decides to commit suicide after she mocks his advances.