13 Februari 1957
Filmproducent / Distributie
De fotograaf Dick Avery werkt voor een modeblad. In een boekhandel merkt
hij de verkoopster Jo Stockton op. Hij ziet in dat dat zij het gezicht van het
tijdschrift kan worden. Jo laat zich door Dick overreden om met hem mee te gaan naar Parijs. Ze wil er de filosoof Emile Flostre ontmoeten. Ze is niet erg geïnteresseerd in fotografie, maar ze wordt intussen wel verliefd op Dick.
Maggie Prescott (Kay Thompson) is a fashion magazine publisher and
editor, for Quality magazine, who is looking for the next big fashion trend.
She wants a new look for the magazine. Maggie wants the look to be both "beautiful" and "intellectual". She and famous fashion photographer Dick Avery (Fred Astaire) want models who can "think as well as they look." The two brainstorm and come up with the idea to find a "sinister-looking" book store in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan. They subsequently find a bookstore named "Embryo Concepts".
Maggie and Dick take over Embryo Concepts, which is being run by the shy bookshop clerk and amateur philosopher, Jo Stockton (Audrey Hepburn). Jo thinks the fashion and modeling industry is nonsense, saying: "it is chichi, and an unrealistic approach to self-impressions as well as economics". Maggie decides to use Jo in the first fashion shot, to give it a more intellectual look. After the first shot Maggie locks Jo out of the shop to keep her from interrupting the rest of the photo shoot.
What Jo wants more than anything else in the world is to go to Paris and attend the famous philosopher/professor Emile Flostre's (Michel Auclair) lectures about empathicalism. When Dick gets back to the darkroom, he sees something in Jo's face which is "new" and "fresh", and which would be perfect for the campaign, giving it "character", "spirit", and "intelligence". They send for Jo, pretending they want to order some books from her shop. Once she arrives, they start treating her like a doll, trying to make her over, pulling at her clothes and attempting to cut her hair. She is outraged and runs away, only to hide in the darkroom where Dick is working. When Dick mentions Paris, Jo becomes very interested in that she would get a chance to see Professor Flostre, and is finally convinced to model for the magazine. Soon, Maggie, Dick, and Jo are off to Paris to prepare for a major fashion event, shooting photos at famous landmarks from the area. During the various photo shoots, Jo and Dick develop feelings for each other and they fall in love.
One night, when Jo is getting ready for a gala, she learns that Flostre is giving a lecture at a cafe nearby. She attends, forgetting the gala. Eventually, Dick finds her and they get into an argument at the gala's opening, which results in Jo being publicly embarrassed and Maggie outraged. Jo goes to talk to Flostre at his home. Through some scheming, Maggie and Dick make it into the soiree at Flostre's home. After performing an impromptu song and dance for Flostre's disciples, they confront Jo and Flostre. This eventually leads to Dick causing Flostre to fall and knock himself out. Jo urges them to leave. When Flostre wakes up, he tries to make a pass at Jo. Shocked at the behavior of her "idol", she smashes a vase over his head and runs out.
Before the group leaves for home, there is a final fashion show. Jo and Maggie try to get in touch with Dick, who has made plans to leave Paris. Jo does the runway show and before her wedding gown finale, she looks out the window and sees the plane Dick was supposed to be on, take off. Heartbroken, she runs off the runway in tears at the conclusion of the show.
Meanwhile, Dick is at the airport. He runs into Flostre and learns that Jo bashed him on the head with a vase. Dick, realizing how much he cares, goes back to find Jo. He goes back to the runway show, only to find that Jo is nowhere to be found. Finally, after a long search, Dick finds Jo (in the wedding gown) by a little church where they shared a romantic moment during an earlier photo shoot. They embrace and kiss.