Monday, May 24, 2010

Fashion In Film: Atonement (2007) - Green Silk & Lies

Director: Joe Wright
Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, Saoirse Ronan
Costume Design: Jacqueline Durran


Jacqueline Durran's design

Yes, I am talking about the green silk dress in Atonement.
I'm sure everyone who has seen the movie has already oohed and ahhed about Cecilia Tallis' (Keira Knightly) green silk dress, designed by Jacqueline Durran. Well, I just saw the film for the first time.

However, over a year ago, I was reading through the archives of The Costumer's Guide (a fabulous site on film costuming) and read about the dress. The page on the dress includes detailed closeups of the dress after it was placed on display and anything else you might want to know about the choice of that particular shade of green to any details on Cee's other costumes is there or a link is provided to other sources. One of those links was to a great post on the creation and maintenance of the many dresses used in the film at Sunday Couture. It detailed how delicate the original dresses were because of their laser cut detail work.

The dress is fabulous and there have been many copies sold and some patterns made resembling it, the closest would be Vogue 7365, still being sold today. Eva Dress and the Vintage Pattern Lending Library also offers a dress with a similar feel but not as drop-dead sexy or exposed; Eva Dress 5941 or Z5941.



Though I also love the dress, in the film, the dress seemed so asexual on Keira. Her body type in this movie unnerved me any time she wore something form fitting or wet (you remember the fountain scene, right?) I so wish that such an iconic gown had been shown on a slightly more filled-out frame because I worry that all the girls who wore it to prom thought that was the ideal body to wear it. What were your thoughts about the dress and about Keira's body in it?

A New York Post interview about the dress.

Images: The Costumer's Guide, Vogue Patterns, Eva Dress, Vintage Pattern Lending Library

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree. I read a few blogers a year or so ago who wanted to replicate this gown but whose writers all expressed the opinion that it would only look good on a Keira Knightly figure. I couldn't get over this, I feel it would look perfect on someone more rounded. The only limitation would be whether you need to wear, ahem, supportive undergarments or not; a dress for the pear-shaped rather than the top-heavy, me thinks.

Meg.

alethia said...

Thank you for posting such important and wonderful information. As for Keira's emeral green dress, I think anyone who is tall, slender with no body fat can wear this dress. I am pear shape and I don't know if I could pul it off

The Slapdash Sewist said...

I haven't seen the movie but have admired the dress online. Not having seen it in action I don't know how it would operate on a different body type; as a pear I fear that kind of dropped waist, though. I will say I like Keira Knightly for not "disguising" her flat chest as something bigger. There are few truly flat-chested role models that don't use the magic of bras and chicken cutlets to pump them up! Of course, I wish she weren't so skinny overall....

gemma said...

Hi there I got this dress made for my wedding in August- have loads of pics if you want to see...I got it made in ivory with a hatlette to match. I don't know how to post pics though!!

lsaspacey said...

Oh wow, Gemma, I can see it in your profile pic. I would love to see more pictures of your dress. Can you send .jpegs to my email address, metamorphpursuit(at)yahoo(dot)com? Or do you have a Flicker.com account?

Lisette said...

Like many (including more than a few fashion designers and writers), I felt the dress was highly overrated. Not that it isn't a gorgeous dress, or really hard to make, but iconic? Meh.

Marie said...

Wow, thanks for sharing this. Absolutel brilliant and I'm now on the hunt for Vogue 7365 in the UK ;o)

Lily said...

OMG That is the most beautiful dress in the whole world. I love Atonement so much... (am totally in love with poor Robbie) but I agree, Keira is freaky looking and is in urgent need of some carbs. I'd totally wear that dress and I'm about 3 times Keira's size.

Marie-Christine said...

I have noticed that I do prefer older movies in part because the women don't all look like concentration camp escapees.
Recently I was enjoying 'the train' an excellent new-wave French 50s movie. Romy Schneider was fabulous, because she not only wasn't anorexic, but those leg muscles while she was hopping on the train! Those arms while she was mopping up in the fountain! Aaaah. Strength is a nice quality in a woman.
See in a similar vein the hungry zombie's recent post about what's happening to girls recently, it's depressing..

Stacy said...

Hi, I followed your link from Sew Retro. What an informative post!

When I saw the movie, I loved the dress but kept thinking Keira didn't have the body for it.

sewbissy said...

Such a pretty dress! I'm yet another who's only seen the picture online, not seen the movie yet. I agree with Slapdash Sewist--it's nice to see an actress who doesn't disguise her flat-chestedness, but it's also nice to see actresses who don't disguise their curviness.

gemma said...

E mail sent! xx

ATG said...

Wow that's a beautiful dress. I can't pull it off with all my curvy curves though. :)

emadethis said...

I haven't seen the movie, but I've seen the dress and I think it and Keira Knightly are fabulous. I agree--there is something about it on her though. Braless is always a little disturbing of a look to me as one who can never ever ever go braless.