Keira Knightley repurposed her wedding dress for a red carpet: tacky or amazing?


I don’t really have strong feelings about wedding dresses. I’ve never been married, but when I plan my wedding to Benedict Cumberbatch, I imagine it will be a small affair and I’ll probably wear a very simple white or off-white dress with some kind of fabulous sweater coat, perhaps in grey or light blue. Is this idea terribly offensive to the wedding gown purists?

Well, I have to say – Keira Knightley seems to agree with me, that a wedding dress should just be a pretty dress and if you want to re-wear it, you should. These are some photos of Keira at a charity event last night in London. This Chanel dress – which photographs like off-white but is in reality a pale pink – is her repurposed wedding dress. She wore this dress (sans the sheer sleeves) to her French country wedding to James Righton last year – you can see the wedding photos here. This is actually the third time Keira has worn this dress to a major event – the first outing for the Chanel was back in 2008, to a pre-BAFTA event. Then she recycled it for her wedding, and then again last night.

Is this wedding-gown heresy? I think it’s kind of cool. I like that Keira didn’t, like, go to Vera Wang and have some huge princess gown made for the event. It would have felt un-Keira-like. This is who she is – a thrifty hipster girl who loves her Chanel party dress so much that she re-wears it often.

PS… James Righton looks super-cute in these photos. I have a growing respect for Keira’s taste in pretty boys now that I’ve seen more of Jamie Dornan and Rupert Friend. Right? She likes ‘em pretty and hot.



Photos courtesy of WENN.

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110 Responses to “Keira Knightley repurposed her wedding dress for a red carpet: tacky or amazing?”

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  1. Lizzie says:

    I always had this theory that she maybe had a actual wedding dress that she wore inside the church and then got changed into the Chanel after the ceremony.
    Though probably not, I just thought it was a teeny tiny bit strange that she re-used a dress for her wedding.

  2. Erinn says:

    Not a fan of the sleeves. I like the idea of re purposing a gown – but I know I wouldn’t have the guts to actually do it. I’ll preserve mine or something.

    • Happyhat says:

      I’m totally gonna get a wedding dress that I can do a Marge Simpson and re-purpose several times before it falls apart. I wanna get my money’s worth!

      Oh, and my mum had to throw her wedding dress away because it sat in a box somewhere and went all yellow and rotten. So, worn once only to rot away. I’ll totally get my money’s worth!

  3. mk says:

    Amazing, hands down. Check out this great effort to ‘re-purpose’ wedding gowns here in my hometown:

  4. Jen says:

    It looks horrible with that shirt thing she’s wearing under it.

  5. Dani2 says:

    When I do get married, I don’t see myself re-purposing my wedding dress, it’s a big part of what will be a truly special and life-changing dress for me.
    That said though, seeing as she wore this dress even before her wedding, I think for her, it’s special but at the same time, it’s just a dress that she really seems to love wearing so I’ll give her a pass (not that my opinion matters, her dress, her body, her life).

  6. L says:

    I love my wedding dress so much I would wear it every day if I could. That whole train thing wouldn’t really work in the office though.

    I think this is awesome.

    • VioletCrumble says:

      I totally agree, L. More of us should do it. I understand some people do have an emotional attachment to their wedding dress, and Keira obviously does, too. She’s just taken it to a whole new level. Rather than just packing it away in a box, never to be worn, or sometimes, even looked at, again, she wears it again and again. It’s a fabulous idea, and I love her for not giving a toss about the sentimentality and sacredness of a bloody dress.

      • Ange says:

        My emotional attachment to my dress manifested in me buying a dress I could wear again. It’s just a cute, short white dress I bought in a mall and it looks amazing for nights out. To me I guess it’s a little bit of reliving the wedding each time and that’s what makes it special. I love the idea of making wedding dresses more useful, if mine was more ‘weddingy’ I’d have donated it for sure.

  7. Simmie says:

    Some people have an emotional attachment to the dress and want to keep it forever – great! Some people want to help other women have a more affordable wedding/get some money back and they sell their dress – great! People should do what they want with their own wedding dress. Keira looks gorgeous here and I have a lot of respect for her being somewhat less wasteful and wearing the dress again.

    • Dani2 says:

      +1 to everything, I’m one of those “it’s-so-sacred” people but like you’ve said, people should do whatever they want with their dresses, there’s nothing offensive about it at all.

    • Sonya says:

      My wife and I flew to a state where we could be married, and because of the flight I chose to go with a short little dress. (I wasn’t checking ANYTHING wedding related, as far as I cared they could lose my clothing and all but NOTHING FROM THE WEDDING!) A year after we were married I was super excited when we got a party invite and I could wear my dress again! My wife, who never cares and is very much the “butch” partner almost died! She was BEYOND upset that I would even think of wearing it to a party and insisted it get boxed and sealed. I was shocked that she reacted at all much less that her reaction would be so strong, but I understand that some people are more attached to the meaning of it!
      It’s pretty much the only think I have ever seen her have such attachment to in our eight years together, even the kids drawings and writing that I hoard she’s kind of like pick a few and get rid of the rest! lol

  8. cait says:

    If I had that dress I would wear it as often as possible. I think the dress and Keira are awesome.

  9. Maria says:

    I like it.

    Granted, I know a wedding has different meanings for people, but I think with her the vows were enough.

    This is just a dress, one she likes, so she wears it.

    Im not a Cumby fan (y’all know that) but I can’t knock him for reusing a perfectly good suit! Kudos to her as well.

  10. Aussie girl says:

    Good for her. It’s a lovely dress and she looks beautiful in it. In a world were the kardashion’s spend $250,000 on their fam Xmas card, it’s good to see a celeb receycle their outfit and yes, even their wedding dress.

  11. Gine says:

    Cool idea, but I don’t like the design of the sleeves.

  12. CJ says:

    I actually love the idea. My thoughts are it is too monumental a day to never wear again. I bought a purse and shoes for my wedding day that I bust out occasionally. The purse was my “something blue” and my shoes were high heeled silver sandals. Every time I use them I think of that incredible day.

  13. Lark says:

    Why not? I don’t get the big deal. Although I think the dress was far more lovely without the re-purposed sleeves.

  14. Gretchen says:

    Sure, why not. Hell if I found *the* dress for me and it also happened to be Chanel couture, I’d be quite the Havisham about it. They’d have to peel the tatters from my lifeless body.

  15. Eleonor says:

    I have a pair of sandals like that.
    The dress is lovely.

  16. Hello Kitty says:

    I wish I could’ve recycled my wedding gown! If I could I’d wear it around the house while doing the dishes or something. Like that episode of Friends.

  17. yeahright says:

    Haha, I think its great. However it fits a bit oddly in the bust area but I do love the sleeves.

  18. Kris says:

    I think it’s really cool that she had a wedding dress that actually could be worn for other occasions. It should be a dress that makes you feel amazing and that you’d want to wear again and again. I’ve never even had that luck with bridesmaid dresses!

  19. Mandy says:

    I think it’s adorable! Why not? Whenever I look at my wedding dress, I cringe!! It was a corset on top with a big poofy skirt. It just wasn’t the right kind of dress for my body type. But that was the style back then. Ugh. I wish I had gone for a much simpler dress.

  20. Zigggy says:

    I love it so much. Timeless dress

  21. BooBooLaRue says:

    “I imagine it will be a small affair and I’ll probably wear a very simple white or off-white dress with some kind of fabulous sweater coat, perhaps in grey or light blue. Is this idea terribly offensive to the wedding gown purists?” LOL! Sounds wonderful Kaiser! Wish more brides would do this.

  22. Nikole says:

    Not tacky at all. My wedding dress was a simple $50 khaki shirt dress, and I wore it to Thanksgiving this year.

    My prom dress eventually became a nightgown. I’ve always liked simple dresses that can be worn again and again, even if it’s a ~special occasion~ :)

  23. QQ says:


    Also Props to another Graduate of the Lisa Bonet Institute for Sex: Mama Doesnt Fuck Ugly Men!

  24. lily says:

    I think she looks cute in this dress :) Besides, this is her wedding dress, she can do whatever she wants with it.

  25. Heather says:

    Love the dress and it looks great on her! Good for her!!!!

  26. Jayna says:

    I see no problem. Why let it hang for 30 years in your closet. It looks adorable on her.

    And that reminds me of something that irritates me. I have to say it really bugs me this new trend of brides putting on their wedding dresses for a photoshoot where they go in the ocean and ruin the dress. There are so many underprivileged women in this country getting married that can’t afford it and could really use a nice wedding dress or organizations that can do good with your dress, like one of the options below that uses the sale of wedding dresses to build a school in Haiti. Instead of ruining an expensive wedding dress, why not do some good with it? That’s what I did. Just a pet peeve of mine.

    A list of great organizations that do great things with donations of wedding dresses.

    • littlestar says:

      I think it’s a bit of a weird trend too and wasteful, but I guess if someone wants to destroy a dress the bought, then they can do that lol. I got married last month and I’m planning on wearing my dress next summer for a photo shoot out at my parents farm, in the yellow canola fields. Sounds silly and vain, but why not throw it on again while my dad snaps a few photos of me and the huband.

  27. Lucy says:

    Amazing. It’s a great dress and it looks fantastic on her. And props to her for not giving a fuck!!!

  28. MissNostalgia says:

    Adorable! Very cute and appropriate!

  29. Chinoiserie says:

    Her dress looks beautiful, I would wear it again if I had that.

  30. mysticia says:

    In the old days ladies used their wedding gowns to make their babies christening gowns. I wish i had done that but i cannot sew! My gown sits stored in a box in the basement for no reason. Good for Kiera – she does what she likes. Also, good for her standing up to say don’t photoshop my breasts bigger. I think she is a good role model for girls.

    • Sloane Wyatt says:

      I love Kiera’s beautifully petite bust! However, she’s going against the tide.

      Taking the typical Hollywood route of breast augmentation, Kate Hudson is more the norm. She looked so much prettier before her implants, and I’ll never understand why anyone would risk losing their nipples’ pleasurable feeling just to conform to society’s mold of ‘sexy’. Personally, the only exception that makes sense to me for either bolt-ons or breast reduction is for health reasons.

      Don’t get me wrong here, I’m all for having any procedure that makes your life better. My wish though for women is that we’d not only see our au naturale selves as the epitome of beauty, but we’d love and cherish ourselves for our unadorned radiance.

      Patriarchy sucks so hard. As a celebrity, Kiera clearly is an outlier in the best sense of the word!

      • homegrrrrl says:

        so true Sloane, I say this constantly. I went in for a lift and evil dr breast talked me into “small implants”. I was dumb and vulnerable to his “expertise”. They were too big and dropped to my waist in a few months. (2) more surgeries later to correct said error, and they exploded! Now i have a nice lift but ugly huge scars. Patriarchy six!! We need more petit sized celeb examples like Kiera, I so agree.

      • Sloane Wyatt says:

        I’m so sorry, homegrrrrl! Thank you for your personal story.

  31. paola says:

    I love people who don’t make a big deal out of their wedding. It’s a special day yes but some women can really become bridezillas and transform something that should be a family event into a freak show. I love the fact Keira has used the wedding dress before the wedding and that has now been transformed into a nice wearable dress for any occasion.

  32. Sloane Wyatt says:

    When I first saw the headline “Kiera Knightly repurposed her wedding dress for a red carpet”, I thought “Wow! She’s made a carpet out of her wedding dress! (Like Carol Burnett making a new dress out of the curtain rod in the ‘Gone With the Wind parody’.) How cool and unusual!”

    This makes me like Kiera more! It takes verve to literally make a dress your own, let alone have repeat wearings in the public eye. I don’t see her with a ‘Cribs’ over the top opulent series of mirrored rooms as her closet. It’s so refreshing for a wealthy actress to shun conspicuous consumption, when we’re bombarded everyday with the shallow materialism like it’s some kind of compulsory religion! – Carol Burnett Show- Went With the Wind, Part 2

    • littlestar says:

      I like it too, it’s a really cute idea and her dress was perfect for “repurposing”.

    • TG says:

      I like that Keira is classy and fame and fortune hasn’t gone to her head. I think it shows that she was likely the same way before she was ever successful. She is the complete opposite of the Kartrashian’s. Everyone expects tacky from Kim and PMK and that is what we get. From their wedding to her clothes to her babies make to her proposal. Whereas Keira isn’t a famewhores and on her honeymoon the pics showed her being super chill wearing overalls.

  33. umyeah says:

    I wish I could have repurposed my reem acra wedding dress and worn it over and over again. I loved that thing. It made me sad that it was just for the short walk down the aisle, so yay for her! The dress is super cute and suits her.

  34. mimi says:

    Love her even more after reading this story. Good for her getting additional mileage out of her wedding dress because let’s face it, most brides wear their wedding dress only once, then it’s packed away forever. Me included. All that time spent selecting the perfect dress for only a few hours of actual wear. LoL

  35. Kellykat says:

    The dress is beautiful and she looks beautiful in it.

  36. TeresaGiudice says:

    I think she’s so beautiful. I just love her bone structure. . .

  37. P.J. says:

    I think she looks GORGEOUS here, and the dress is a very big part of it! :)

    I really like the fact that the dress has meant so much to her since ’08 that she wears it to many different special events in her life-including her wedding. I mean, why not? (I’m a wedding-loving girlie lady through & through, but I’ve always thought that one of the most ridiculous wedding traditions of all is 1. That we would willingly spend thousands of dollars on a dress meant for a single day. And 2. That you spend that much money on a gown and then keep it forever locked away in a plastic bag in your closet. Why??! So dumb…)

  38. Birdie says:

    The prettiest girls are simply happy girls and you can see that in Keira. She is comfortable with herself, she found her man, she doesn’t feel the need to prove something to anyone. I admire her!

  39. Isa says:

    I think it’s great. I never had a wedding dress but if I had I wouldn’t want it to just sit in a closet.

  40. bobbiesue says:

    I think it’s genius. Wish I’d thought of it.

  41. missespresso says:

    Good for her. It’s a lovely dress, it suits her and she’s obviously down to earth.

  42. Holly says:

    I LOVE the dress and love that she wore it again. How could she not?

  43. mzizkrizten says:

    My fave Kiera movie is ‘The Hole’. All should see it!

    Love the dress, too.

  44. paranormalgirl says:

    I want to dye and shorten my wedding dress and repurpose it.

  45. ThunderGoddess says:

    I would have done the same but..alas, I’ve no red carpet to walk ;) kudos to her for doing that though.

  46. Ice Maiden says:

    The dress looked beautiful – like a fairy dress, but in a good way – when she wore it for her wedding, but it’s fugly with the cheap looking sleeves attached.

    BTW I hardly think a woman who gets gifted Chanel dresses worth thousands of quid can be described as ‘thrifty just because she wears them more than once. I wish I had the opportunity to be so thrifty!

  47. Snappyfish says:

    It’s a darling idea, she looks great & the days of handing down wedding dresses is largely a thing of the past

  48. JudyK says:

    Smart and she looks darling!

  49. Camille (TheOriginal) says:

    Good on her. It’s a cute dress. Cute couple too.

  50. Ginger says:

    She’s so pretty and a Chanel dress? I’d wear it as many times as possible! She looks great!

  51. Jenna10 says:

    For the girls who have packed your dresses away, rip those boxes open! During some of parents anniversaries, my mom would put on her dress even though it didn’t zip up and my dad would put on parts of his tuxedo and they’d dance around while the kids would clap and toast them with apple cider. Good memories.

    It’s ridiculous to hold onto a boxed dress because you might have a daughter one day, who might share your style, might be the same size, and might want to wear it instead of getting her own dress. That’s a lot of maybes. Have fun with the dress instead!

  52. pandora says:

    I’ve reworn part of my wedding dress. My mother had a beautiful skirt that she wore for her wedding, and I knew I wanted to use that, but I needed something on top. Since it was a long full skirt I figured I might as well buy a dress I liked (it happened to be orange) and wear the wedding skirt over the bottom half. I loved it, and it meant that I could both wear part of my mother’s dress, and have a new dress that I could wear again for special occasions (I wore it on Easter of this year).

    I guess it never seemed strange to me because mom would wear the lace top she wore for her wedding on special occasions too.

  53. Fitztant says:

    OMG, beautiful gown! I wanted to see what it looked like before she altered it, though.

  54. Jonesy says:

    I’m pretty sure it’s Rodarte and not Chanel…

    Good on her for wearing it more than once!

  55. A Fan says:

    What I most like is the fact she hasn’t gotten a boob job…

    [fingers crossed...]

  56. kitty-bye says:

    That material makes me cringe like “nails on a chalkboard” ! AH

  57. spiffypaws says:

    It’s Chanel. And it’s beautiful. If I looked as good as she does in it, I would wear it everyday, even to the grocery store.

  58. TOPgirl says:

    Nice dress. I would do the same.

  59. homegrrrrl says:

    I would re-purpose mine too if it wasn’t a tacky POS that I purchased last minute for my shot-gun wedding.
    I was 9mos preggerz, haha, and there is actually a website for pregnant brides. I called up, and a rep asked for my measurements. I busted out the carpenter metal thing to measure (who has real measuring tape anymore?) and apparently I was about to spend a fortune dressing up a giant easter egg. ( me)
    So I went to some chola shop where the Mexicana granny found something that fit and said,
    “no whun will ayveer know! (I can mock this accent/store because I’m latina)
    So I threw it away a few months later. Whalah. Repurposed a la landfill!

  60. Caroline says:

    It’s all sorts of amazing

  61. sputnik says:

    i don’t see how it could be heresy to repurpose or reuse a wedding dress. lots of big designers, such as viviene westwood, offer a service to dye their white wedding dresses after the wedding to make them more wearable in future. if you spend a lot of money on a dress, why not make the most out of it?

  62. MsLDG says:

    I definitely love this. I’ve always known that when I get married, I’d get a dress that I could wear over and over. I’d love to have someone compliment my dress one day, and I’d get to say, “Thanks! I got married in it.”

  63. lol says:

    “pretty and hot”? James Righton looks like a zombie, wtf