Isabella I, also known as Isabella the Catholic, was queen of Castile and León.
She and her husband, Ferdinand II of Aragon, brought stability to the kingdoms that became the basis for the political unification of Spain under their grandson, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.
After a struggle to claim her right to the throne, she reorganized the governmental system, brought the crime rate to the lowest it had been in years, and unburdened the kingdom of the enormous debt her brother had left behind.
Her reforms and those she made with her husband had an influence that extended well beyond the borders of their united kingdoms.
Isabella and Ferdinand are known for completing the Reconquista, ordering conversion or exile of their Muslim and Jewish subjects and for supporting and financing Christopher Columbus’ 1492 voyage that led to the opening of the “New World”.
Isabella was granted the title Servant of God by the Catholic Church in 1974.
In Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Eva Green, the French actress (see above) is treacherous, deadly and alluring enough to turn a polar ice cap into a cloud of steam.
Her character has a name – Ava Lord – but she might as well be called simply Femme Fatale. She is just the latest in a long line of cinematic devil women who beguile viewers as surely as they beguile their weak-willed prey.
But the femme fatale doesn’t just give audiences a delectable taste of forbidden fruit. Dr Catherine O’Rawe of Bristol University is the editor of an academic survey of the subject, Femme Fatale: Images, Histories, Contexts, and she argues that such fictional seductresses reflect society’s mixed feelings towards independent women.
“The figure of the female temptress is as old as Eve,” says O’Rawe.
“But the femme fatale as we understand it emerged in the late 19th Century, when the term was applied to a range of fin-de-siècle figures such as Salome, Rider Haggard’s She and Bram Stoker’s female vampires.
What’s striking is that these figures arose at the same time as concerns about emancipated women occupying the public sphere.”
There were similar concerns in the air during the femme fatale’s big-screen heyday. The movies have always featured wicked women: in 1915, Hollywood’s original ‘vamp’, Theda Bara, ensnared and destroyed a respectable Wall Street lawyer in A Fool There Was.
Photo: Rita Hayworth.
But it was in the 1940s that such film noir classics as Gilda, The Killers, Murder, My Sweet and Double Indemnity brought us the definitive femmes fatales: Rita Hayworth, Ava Gardner and Barbara Stanwyck at their most hazardously alluring.
Photo: Veronica Lake
Sometimes evil, sometimes in thrall to a villainous male, the vamp in these films used her hypnotic eroticism to get what she wanted – up to and including murder.
She may have been a fantasy, says Dr Ellen Wright, a film noir specialist at the University of East Anglia, but she personified real issues.
Image Credit: All Photographs by Deanne Fitzmaurice
Stacey Corcoran is an electrician at the Nippon Sharyo railcar manufacturing facility in Rochelle, Illinois.
Stacey has been building trains for more than 20 years.
‘To me, it’s not just a job. Doing the electrical work, it’s like putting art together. You want it to be flawless and beautiful.
I’m only 4ft 4in, I build trains, and I’m a girl. What more proof do you need?’
The 1969 event was undoubtedly one of the most formative moments in music history, but as we’ve learned with most music festivals, they lend themselves to some pretty awesome style-spotting.
Long before the concept of street style or even festival style existed, Woodstock showcased inspiring women wearing sweet bell bottoms, crop tops and knit dresses.
Top Photo: Lady wheeling her Blitz Proof Pram in London, 1940.
Second Photo: Ladies having the length of their swim tunics checked during the 1920s in the U.S.
Third Photo: Young lady with her dolly after a Blitz raid London, 1940.
Final Photo: A lady who actually survived going over Niagara Falls in that Barrel.