Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I, Conned

Keira Knightley’s green dress from the film Atonement has just been awarded (in a poll by Sky Movies and In Style magazine) the distinction of the best movie costume ever for women. Designed by Jacqueline Durran, the dress is indeed a pretty shade of emerald green, and has pleasing lines, though its bodice does fit Ms. Knightley rather like Gwyneth Paltrow’s pink Ralph Lauren dress worn when receiving an Oscar: too loosely.

Fit aside, the question remains: is this green dress iconic in the way that most of the other top-ten inclusions were, like the clothes from Diane Keaton’s Annie Hall, Olivia Newton John’s spray-on black pants in Grease, and Audrey Hepburn’s perfectly simple black dress in Breakfast at Tiffany’s?

I think that a dress should have an incubation period—a waiting period—before it’s declared anything. Indeed, it seems suspicious that in this round of gown-less non-award shows that a dress from a 2007-nominated film has garnered such an honor. Perhaps the establishment is trying to inject a little dressy glamour into this sweats-and-tees-at-home awards season.

Further, will this dress have lasting iconography? Will it be muse to countless women as they dress in years hence? Will designers riff on its color, its shape? Or will knockoffs be sold to the 2008 prom set, never to be conjured again?

Sky Movies and In Style magazine, we’re savvier than this. Where’s Elizabeth Taylor’s slip from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof? Dorothy Dandridge's black top and red skirt from Carmen Jones? Kim Novak's little gray suit from Vertigo? Now those were iconic.


ALL THE BEST said...

A beautiful shade of green, but I agree that the bodice fits very much like Gwyneth Paltrow’s pink Ralph Lauren dress. I think it's rather too soon to tell if it stands the test of time.

Toby Wollin said...

I feel that in order for a piece of movie clothing to become "iconic", not only must it capture the moment of the film, but also it has to capture the imagination (and clothing dollars) of the public. Now, I realize that there is someone out there who has apparently copied this and is offering it up for sale, but this is a design that only someone with Miss Knightley's frame(I have to call it that since she is so thin that I can't call what she has a "body")can actually wear it. Anyone with hips, breasts, a waistline or a rearend is going to find that this design is not exactly going to flatter; I don't think this is going to be very popular at all. So iconic? No.