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Leslie Caron in An American in Paris

Updated: Mar 30

I found this photo transparency in the LIFE archives. It depicts Leslie Caron shooting a short Charleston sequence that appears in the movie An American in Paris (1951) with choreography by Gene Kelly.

In this interview that Leslie gave in 2020 on her experience filming An American in Paris, I found one question and answer particularly funny. For context, when Gene Kelly discovered Leslie at 19, she was a ballet dancer with Roland Petit’s company Ballet des Champs Elysées:

Q: You also have many beautiful costumes. Was there one in particular that took your breath away when you first saw it?

Leslie: “Well, don’t think for a minute that I wasn’t used to beautiful costumes. My first costume was designed by Christian Dior! When I was 16, my first costume was done by Dior. Don’t forget that I was coming from Paris. I was no country bumpkin. Some of the costumes were lovely, but frankly, we had great costumes in our ballet company.”

—Maureen Lee Lenker for Entertainment Weekly

(left) Photo by J.R. Eyerman, 1950.

(right) Leslie Caron in a costume by Christian Dior for the Ballet Treize Danses, 1947.


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