TH E R E W A S A T I M E when a feminist approaching a film like Cecil B.DeMille’s Madam Satan (1930) would have felt obliged to talk about its orgy of bodies in terms of objectification and fetishization. We are, however, arriving at a new moment in which many methodologies will bloom and a film like Madam Satan – a tour de force of art deco film design – will invite many analyses. At this moment, I have been emboldened by two developments, both of which bode well for the serious consideration of costume design. First, I am indebted to Stella Bruzzi’s Undressing Cinema, which makes a passionate case for understanding costume in the cinema ‘for its own sake’, that is, not as a handmaiden to the narrative. I particularly like Bruzzi’s admission that there are some costumes that make such a strong statement that they ‘steal the show’, so to speak. These ‘iconic clothes’, as she calls them, have the capacity to ‘disrupt the normative reality of the text’. They are ‘interjections’ that declare themselves with visual exclamation marks (Bruzzi 1997: 17). And it has been such exclamation point designing that first drew me and my colleague Charlotte Herzog to the work of designer Gilbert Adrian, whose important tenure at MGM spanned the golden era from 1927 to 1941.1 It is that visually exclamatory aspect of Adrian’s Madam Satan dress that I want to explore here, and Stella Bruzzi’s affirmation of the disruptive tendency of tour de force design inspires my decision to look exclusively at ‘the dress’ in this film (see Figure 10.1). Clearly, Adrian’s black cut-out seductress costume is one of those extravagant iconic designs that monopolize the eye and transfix the viewer. The Kay Johnson character (Angela Brooks) wears the dress to seduce her own philandering husband, catching him in the act of seduction by planting herself as the bait in the trap.