Directed By Stanley Donen
Cinematography by Ray June
Quality Magazine is looking to redefine their women's fashion publication with a new face to represent their brand. The young woman who ends up with the role is not who you'd expect, and not a professional model. Jo Stockton, a bookstore clerk, is skeptical of the situation but uses it as 'a means to an end' (or 'a means to a beginning' as suggested by the photographer, another main character). After all, it involves a trip to Paris. Who can turn that down? The film focuses around the process leading up to a big fashion collection and show with the top French designer, resulting in an emotional search for identity in a new landscape.
Audrey Hepburn is one of my favorite actresses and the newfound model, Jo Stockton, is one of my favorites of her movie roles. The role of the photographer, Dick Avery, is played by the great Fred Astaire. So you have the two main characters filled by two of the greatest actors of the period, and arguably ever, together in the same film. Not to mention that the character of the photographer is based on Richard Avedon, one of my favorite shooters (and again, arguably one of the best ever). Avedon was not just inspiration. He designed the opening title sequence, provided the photographs used throughout, and was the overall visual consultant of the film. The romanticism of the two locations used, New York City and Paris, is also a crucial part in establishing the mise-en-scène.