Arsenic and Old Lace
To commemorate her transition out of silent films and into motion pictures with sound or talkies, Edward Steichen photographed American actress Gloria Swanson in 1924. A pioneer in the field of fashion photography, Steichen would build a prolific body of work capturing the glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Age. In Swanson’s portrait, Steichen suspended a piece of black lace directly between Swanson and the camera, capturing what he later referred to in his biography as “her look of a leopardess lurking behind leafy shrubbery, watching her prey.” Acne Paper Issue 9 FW 2009 featured an editorial starring Tilda Swinton channeling not Gloria Swanson but the Italian heiress Marchesa Luisa Casati. Photographed by Paolo Roversi, the image clearly references Steichen’s well-known photograph with the use of lace, veiling Tilda Swinton who appears to take on the role of the prey rather than the predator.