Thursday, July 21, 2011


French born actress Leslie Caron is a much loved film actor and dancer who has appeared in some of the most memorable MGM musicals.

Discovered by another MGM performer, Gene Kelly, Caron started life as a dancer. He cast her in the MGM classic An American in Paris (1951). MGM liked what they saw and continued her in a number of musical classics. Lili in 1953 and of course the best being Gigi in 1958.

This wonderful costume was worn by Leslie Caron in the 1958 MGM musical classic “Gigi”. Released in 1958, the film was directed by Vincente Minnelli. Considered as really the last of the great MGM musicals, the film remains a much-loved musical classic.

The costume consists of a white blouse with blue bow detail and a sapphire-blue wool skirt with blue satin piping to the hem. The costume is worn by lead actress Leslie Caron as young Gigi in the musical comedy.

Costumes were designed by the legendary Cecil Beaton who designed for other film classics including My Fair Lady.

The costumes whilst designed by Beaton, were executed by another legendary designer Irène Karinska.

Karinska was a costumer with the New York City Ballet. For film she won the 1948 Oscar for costume for Joan of Arc.

The costume is worn in a number of scenes in the film including the conformation scene with co-star Louis Jourdan. The film also starred Maurice Chevalier and character actors Hermione Gingold and Isabel Jeans. A young Eva Gabor can also been seen in this film classic.

Below is the trailer to the film as release by MGM.

This link takes you to one of the scenes in which the costume appears.

The costume is also worn by Caron in a number of promotional photos released for the film.

With songs by Lerner and Lowe, the film is set in turn-of-the-20th century Paris and tells the story of high society, marriage, mistresses, lovers and a girl named Gigi.

Gaston a wealthy bachelor, bored with life, takes interest in Gigi in a different way as she slowly become groomed as a courtesan and learns etiquette and charm from her Aunt Alicia. These scenes in themselves are charming and very funny.

Eventually after a few failed attempts he ends up falling in love with a matured Gigi.

Caron has appeared in other much loved film classics including “Daddy Long Legs”, “The Glass Slipper” and “Father Goose”.

Caron has danced with the greats including Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Rudolf Nureyev.

Caron continues to act and appears on stage film and television.

Gigi is such a loved classic that it has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

The film is ranked as number 35 in the AFI top 100 films. It’s in the top 10 in mine.


  1. What a great costume and easily recognizable. I was so glad to see her school girl costume fetch such a nice price during Debbie's recent auction.

    Thanks for sharing another costume with those of us who love everything Hollywood. I had to feature this on my sidebar. Another costume I hope many will get a chance to see here and enjoy.

  2. Your taste in collecting is impeccable. I fell in love with this outfit on sight the first time I saw "Gigi." The blouse is so evocative of a young French girl on the precipice of womanhood, so feminine and yet, with the sapphire blue skirt, decorous. If Cecil Beaton had only designed costumes for "Gigi" and "My Fair Lady" it would have been enough to make his reputation forever.

    I don't know if you have blogged in depth about how you became a collector of movie costumes or about your collection in general - if you have, please direct me to that post. If not, I hope you will someday.

    Thank for for sharing your amazing collection online.

  3. Hi Page! Yes it made me smile to see what Debbie Reynolds sold her piece from the film for! It is a wonderful film and is much loved. It's one of the more favorite pieces in the collection. I have a soft spot for the MGM films....thanks again Page!

  4. I love "Gigi" and what a fun post :)

  5. Beautiful post about a beautiful costume. It's wonderful to get to see it so close-up with all the wonderful detail of fabric. I have to say that my favorite of Gigi's dresses, other than the gorgeous gown she wears at the end, is the white dress with the tall collar that upsets Gaston so much. She looks like a sensual angel in that dress. I really enjoyed your post!

  6. Thanks for the nice comments Classicfilmboy and ClassicBecky! Two Classics! LOL It is a film favourite of mine too!

    That is the one thing that surprises me about the costumes is the detail, the fabric and the workmanship. It is art and its amazing to see in person.

    I do hope that dress you like is still around. Sadly so much has not survived.

    Glad you enjoyed the post!

  7. Beautiful page. One of my favorite all time movies. Please note the needed correction: The costumes were executed by Irène Karinska 30 Rue Washington, Paris, and not by her mother Barbara Karinska from New York.

    Thank you,

    Andrew (Jmoudsky) Vlady, the Jmoudsky family biographer

  8. Hi Andrew! Thanks for letting me know about the error! I will have it corrected! A very talented family indeed! Thanks for the nice words on the page as well. My best to you!