You can tell how famous a photograph is by looking at the photos it inspired. The above picture, of Lisa Fonssagrives at the Eiffel Tower is one of such photos. Translucent and ephemeral, Fonssagrives’ pose was emulated innumerable times in fashion photography. In 2008, Peter Lindbergh revisited the scene with Marion Cotillard for a Dior handbag advertisement. (below)
Erwin Blumenfeld’s original set of photos featuring Lisa Fonssagrives swinging from the girders of the Eiffel Tower in a Lucien Lelong dress appeared in May 1939 Vogue.
Lisa Fonssagrives marked the beginning of an era when the muses of the yesteryear gave way to a new diaphanous form of feminine beauty — the supermodel. The Swedish blonde for whom the word ‘svelte’ seems especially fitting, she crafted iconic portraits with Horst P. Horst, Blumenfeld and Irving Penn, whom she married. Her career spanned three decades; she retired with her image gracing more Vogue covers than any other model and the appellation, “Billion Dollar Baby.”
— Thanks Fredi for suggesting this picture.