bonjour paris!

August 31, 2012

In the wonderfully upbeat opening musical number fashion magazine editor Maggie Prescott (Diana Vreeland says hello) encourages us to “Think Pink“, to which Greenwich Village bookshop salesgirl and amateur philosopher Jo Stockton builds a stark and rather drab and dreary contrast. Wearing a, what my father would call, “potato sack” shy Jo Stockton’s workday is disturbed by a horde of fashionable young interns and photographer Dick Avery who flounce into the dismal-looking bookshop in search of an intellectual backdrop for one of their photoshoots.

Once convinced her “Funny Face” makes for some bloody good modelling, she’s rushed off to Paris where she goes in search of the “den of thinking men, like Jean-Paul Sartre” in

  1. a tan, almost trench coat-like parka, cuffing the sleeves,
  2. a small bow in her hair,
  3. a classic black turtleneck,
  4. cream suede gloves,
  5. slim fitting pants & black leather loafers.

Amidst all the more glamorous outfits chosen for the photoshoots that follow, it is this marvellously simple outfit Jo chooses to wander through Montmartre that is still as classic today as it was back in 1957.

“Heartbroken, suffering. You’re Anna Karenina.”
“Shall I throw myself under the train?”

“You’re walking out of the opera, leaving to the passionate music of Tristan und lsolde. You’re very unhappy.”
“What happened now?”
“A rendezvous at the opera. Two seats. He didn’t show up. You’re furious. When I say go, walk down with fire in your eyes and murder on your mind.”

Wearing a simple white shirt and once again slim fitting pants with loafers, Jo gets taught “How To Be Lovely“.

Philosophers wear black only, of course.

“Indeed, it is reasonable to reckon that you won’t see a prettier musical film—or one more extraordinarily stylish—during the balance of this year. If you do you may count yourself fortunate, for this is a picture with class in every considerable department on which this sort of picture depends.”

New York Times review from 1957 (x)