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Review: Hallmark's "Crimes of Fashion: Killer Clutch" Is a Mediocre Mystery

Crimes of Fashion: Killer Clutch has the makings of a unique mystery franchise for Hallmark, but it falls short in engaging viewers.

What Is Crimes of Fashion: Killer Clutch About?

Lauren Elliott (Brooke D'Orsay) is an American psychologist who is hired to coach a stressed fashion designer at a Paris fashion show. When a staff member is murdered backstage, Lauren's best friend becomes the prime suspect. Lauren joins forces with a guarded French detective, André Dubreuil (Gilles Marini), to unravel the mystery and secure her friend's freedom.

Crimes of Fashion: Killer Clutch Has Several Enjoyable Components

Although Crimes of Fashion: Killer Clutch doesn't appear "series-worthy," it's passable for one-time viewing--especially with the Paris backdrop!

There are several plot twists and red herrings to keep you guessing, and the movie delivers a satisfying ending.

Humor is woven throughout the script to lighten the mood. Lauren's job in France is entirely unexpected, so she's had no time to learn the language. The only two words she knows are merci and bonjour, so she uses them together in all her replies to French citizens, even though they rarely fit the situation.

The French language, to the average American, looks like a gazillion letters strung together, most of which are silent. It's comedic that Lauren cannot, until the very end, pronounce Detective Dubreuil's last name, even though he repeatedly annunciates it for her.

Despite having a degree in psychology, it's amusing that Lauren uses no trade secrets to help her think. She mentally processes information best by eating hot dogs--how scientific!

The character depth is adequate. Lauren's dad is retired from law enforcement, which has equipped her for amateur sleuthing, though France does not abide by the same ground rules as America. Her mom's death has also had a profound impact on her. André's father and brother have done time for art forgery, so he's a by-the-book guy who wants to better the family name. Lauren's spontaneity contrasts nicely with André's adherence to protocol.

Where Crimes of Fashion: Killer Clutch Loses Points

Without using closed captioning, it's very tricky to grasp the dialogue with the thick French accents. You can easily miss clues if you can't decipher parts of the conversations.

The movie is slow-moving to start, so viewers shared on social media that they changed channels early on. It's important for a mystery to be gripping before the first commercial break. Although the story moves along at an acceptable pace later, too much time lapses before it becomes interesting.

The friendship between Lauren and Charlotte is a bit overplayed. They are constantly hugging and walking around arm-in-arm. Who does this? When you connect with your close friend, you give them an initial hug and then you just hang out. Otherwise, it just looks odd.

Creatives are well-renowned for their flamboyancy and emotionalism, but once again, this is overdone. Characters like fashion designers Virgil St. James and Riccardo Dolce don't resonate as classy, glamorous and swanky, but as gaudy, ostentatious, and diva-like. It cheapens the story.

Finally, Hallmark includes another plug for the LGBTQ crowd. We learn that Gerard, the initial murder victim, had been in love with a male co-worker. Lauren presents the grieving man with a love letter from Gerard, thereby extolling a life of perversity as if it's normal and natural when it's not.

Hallmarkie Mentions: What Are Hallmark Fans Saying About Crimes of Fashion: Killer Clutch?

I'm introducing a new section to movie review blog posts: Hallmarkie Mentions! Each time I review a movie, I will be including comments from Hallmark viewers that are drawn from social media, predominantly, our Hallmark Ever After Facebook page or group.

It's a fun way to include you, the Hallmark fans, into the story! Only first names and last initials will be used to protect your privacy, but you'll know who you are!

Here are the top viewer comments for Crimes of Fashion: Killer Clutch:

We do not want to see any same-sex mentions, characters or storylines in any movie or TV show.--Laura M.

I watched it through. Impossible to understand without closed captioning and there were too many characters and suspects to keep up with. But it was an okay movie.--Sheryl S.

We started watching it last night, but we lost interest in it and switched to something else.-- Anita P.

Sorry to say I thought it was boring. I love the stars, but rather watch something better.--Donna O.

I actually watched it last night. I loved it.--Sarah S.

After combing X for additional comments, it appears that while some enjoyed the movie, the majority of viewers were less than enthused. Crimes of Fashion: Killer Clutch is a letdown for cozy mystery fans who have been waiting for Hallmark Mystery to introduce a new series.

An Odd Occupation Choice for Brooke D'Orsay's Character

Hallmark fans often remark that they would like to see a movie where the lead characters aren't writers, bakers, matchmakers, or one of the other continuously recycled career choices.

Out of the hundreds of occupations Hallmark could choose, they crafted D'Orsay's character to be a fashion psychologist. Is that even a real thing?

It appears that Hallmark draws upon the niche carved out by Alexa Chung, even using her very definition of the profession. Chung, like Lauren, explains that she's a "cognitive psychologist who applies science to the context of fashion."

What does a fashion psychologist do? According to Chung, they focus on human behavior across all aspects of fashion: design, supply chain, consumption, and disposal. The work also touches on individual, societal, and environmental issues stemming from fashion industries.

Fashion psychologists center on body image, self-esteem, confidence, sexualization of women, compulsive spending, over-buying and disposal of clothing, as well as the impact of fashion-related pollutants on the environment.

Chung boasts that she "developed the world’s first and only master’s courses that apply psychology to the context of fashion."

Although Chung's workdays are varied, she admits that "very little empirical research in fashion psychology currently exists" and she spends most of her time in academics. In other words, it's a totally bogus career path with very little opportunity.

In the movie, Lauren is offered a full-time job as a brand's fashion psychologist. What does she even do? Her dad can't even understand no matter how many times she's explained it. She tells people to breathe (duh) and asks them the verbalize the worst, best, and most likely scenarios for their particular situation. Anyone with common sense can offer that sage advice without a manufactured hokum psychology degree.

Final Thoughts on Crimes of Fashion: Killer Clutch

If you think "killer clutch" means the purse is the murder weapon, think again. The handbag is "killer" because it's one that sells for $8500-$300,000, so it's very couture, plus the murder motive hinges on the clutch.

Gilles Marini is a welcome addition to the Hunks of Hallmark, but it's doubtful that enough viewers enjoyed the movie to plot a second installment.

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