Nensi Dojaka Recreates The Atonement Dress For Alexa Chung
Celebrity Style

Nensi Dojaka Recreates Keira Knightley’s Atonement Dress For Alexa Chung

Darren Gerrish

Keira Knightley is back from fashion “retirement”, but it’s not her new Chanel dresses that are creating column inches. Rather, the fluid green slip she wore as the headstrong Cecilia Tallis in Atonement has made a surprising appearance at London’s Serpentine summer party.

Instead of Knightley, who is doing the couture rounds in ParisAlexa Chung adopted the aristocratic style of Tallis by way of Nensi Dojaka. “Alexa came to us with the picture of Keira in the film as an inspiration,” says the Albanian-born, London-based designer, who just skipped a show season to hone her lingerie-meets-tailoring proposition. “We share the love for this movie and that dress. It felt right for the event.”

For Chung’s part, she had Dojaka on the brain after wearing one of the Fashion East alumni’s signature spliced-and-diced dresses as part of her 40th birthday celebrations. “I liked the idea of wearing the same dress, which is very special to me, but in a colour I’ve always adored yet rarely seen replicated,” she says of the vivid, jewel-toned shade that was the hardest part of the commission to nail.

Alexa Chung in her Nensi Dojaka slip, inspired by Keira Knightley’s green dress in the 2007 epic, Atonement. Darren Gerrish

To echo the depth of that arresting hue, but still invoke the lightness synonymous with Knightley’s iconic slip, Dojaka landed on a satin – a rarity for the brand – and played with both the shiny and matte sides of the fabric to accentuate the panel-like finish of the original. Using the cherry-red look Mariacarla Boscono wore to close the Nensi Dojaka autumn/winter 2023 show as the blueprint, Chung’s wisp of a dress features the same underwear-inspired straps that hold the drapes and twists on the body. “We chose this specific design because it resonated the same feeling,” adds Nensi, who accepted the challenge without thinking twice.

Keira Knightley in Atonement, 2007. Shutterstock

Fashion history nerds will remember that the movie look is actually aeons away from the style of the ’30s, the decade in which Atonement is set. Knightley’s bewitching gown – which seduces James McAvoy in that heartstopping library scene – was actually far more low-cut than the uniform of the time. Costume designer Jacqueline Durran and film director Joe Wright took the liberty and it paid off, as the backless powerhouse piece – which was dyed that particular Pantone shade to symbolise the jealousy of Cecilia’s sister Briony (played by a precocious, award-winning Saoirse Ronan) still finds its way on fashion moodboards today. Another slam-dunk from Chung, who is engaging her inner influencer on the show circuit, and Dojaka, an industry favourite who, like all young designers, is swimming against the tide of a stormy time in retail.

Mariacarla Boscono for Nensi Dojaka autumn/winter 2023. Isidore Montag /

This article was originally published on British Vogue.

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