In the beaux arts ball sequence of ‘An American in Paris’ [Walter Plunkett] really went imaginative. His materials included newspapers, oilcloth, canvas and felt. The hats were even more extreme. They featured cardboard boxes, sofa pillows and bird cages. One, of papier-mache, took the form of a woman’s leg.”–Quigg, Jack. “Have Nothing to Wear? Use Ingenuity,” The Washington Post; Jul 8, 1951, pg. S10.
You can see a clip of the scene referenced (the New Year’s Eve party) here.
A nice side-bar for this is that Nina Foch’s gown, according to the organizers of the recent Debbie Reynolds auction, was designed by Orry-Kelly for Walter Plukett in this scene. (Click the image below for more on that!)