Black Widows, Long Legs–It’s Jazz Age Spider Chic

Arachnids are back! A predatory fervor is consuming the women of Manhattan, who-egged on by the man-eating flappers in the utterly fab movie Chicago and the male-baiting Bachelorette -are luring large groups of fellows into their webs, via the Web. Whether on J-Date.com, Match.com or the more self-consciously groovy Nerve.com, they weave a seductive cocoon of e-mail correspondence around their multiple victims, sucking the life out of them and then discarding the empty husks like so many démodé accessories. And the guys are totally digging it! How fab is that? You voracious vixens have somehow figured out how to simultaneously torture your men and fill them with erotic desire … without putting out!

The bad news: If any of you praying womantises decide to bust through the membrane of cyberspace into the actual world and go on a real date, then you damn well better look the part. The pressure is on. The good news: Dressing like a poisonous vamp is really not that difficult. Here’s how: Start by getting yourself a thoroughly modern Zeta-Jones scalpel-cut bob at Stephen Knoll (625 Madison Avenue, second floor, 212-421-0100)-$300 includes a dye job. “It’s a classic,” Mr. Knoll said over the general salon cacophony when I spoke to him recently by phone, “but it only really looks great on women with a defined jaw.” For short-necked, plump women, this favoritecoiffeurofsupermodel-mommy Cindy Crawford and Danish Gladiator temptress Connie Nielsen recommends “youthful, forgiving layers.”

Now freshly shorn, you can vamp your way down to the Stila counter at Saks, Sephora or Barneys, grab a compact of Convertible Color in Poppy or Orchid ($28) and rouge the hell out of your knees. Very Jazz Age!

What to wear? Wealthy self-indulgent arachnid wannabes should Concorde over to Paris ($10,482.49 round-trip on Air France) and order Jean-Paul Gaultier’s tango-orange spider dress from his recent couture collection. (Gaultier flacks refused to divulge the price, which could mean they have no idea-as is typical of Gallic flacks-but probably means it’s about four times the cost of your plane fare.)

More fiscally prudent spiders can amuse themselves for hours on the Internet, where reasonably priced spider-themed clothing abounds. Most of it is 70′s slutty and better for the boudoir. (See, for example, the fabulously cheesy $20 lace top and hot-shorts on http://www.spookyboutique.com.) My pick: spider-web lace hose from http://www.jadedminx.com ($8.95). A less sissy alternative to the now-ubiquitous fishnets, spider hose should be worn with last season’s flippy Balenciaga skirt or copy thereof, and this season’s Calvin Klein charmeuse camisole ($330). Finish the look off with a black-leather, high-heeled Polianne T-strap from Jill Stuart and a vintage 1960′s jeweled spider pin ($148 from http://www.nightingaleantiques.com), worn insouciantly on the hip of your skirt. You are now ready to objectify, abuse and dominate every sad-ass excuse for a man who buzzes within a five-mile radius of your silky web.

On a more wholesome note, David Kirk, author and illustrator of the Miss Spider children’s books, has collaborated with top-shelf book publisher Nicholas Callaway (he of Madonna’s Sex book fame) to produce a line of clothing and kids’ stuff for Target called Sunny Patch. To describe the Sunny Patch collection as “adorable” is a horrifying understatement. This bug-themed product line, which includes laundry hampers, rompers and rockers, is so screamingly cute that it made my womb twitch-metaphorically, of course. And it’s not just for kids. If you, like me, are a Linda Hunt–sized adult, the $12.99 Miss Spider step-stool may just be a life-changing acquisition.

Before vrooming out of the Target parking lot in your vintage Alfa Romeo Spider, check out Liz Lange’s brand-new, budget-priced maternity collection. Yes, I said “maternity”! After all, vamps can get knocked up just like regular chicks, you know! To ensure that you look hot during this frequently irksome period, Liz has created slinky, fitted cashmere-blend sweaters ($24.99) and mini-skirts ($16.99)-opt for the blue and dark gray, respectively. Far more than any of her many imitators, Ms. Lange understands that pregnancy is no longer a time of asexual muumuu-wearing abstinence; it’s a time for carefree, hormonally charged shagging.

P.S.: Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch collection boasts gardening tools for kids. Fire the gardener and put those brats to work!