The "Atonement" Dress Online Auction: Green in Look, with More of the Color to Come

Keira Knightley as Cecilia Tallis in "Atonement", wearing the green dress that is being auctioned online today through March 1 by the organization Clothes Off Our Back to raise money for Variety, the southern California children's charity.  "Atonement" has been nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Jacqueline Durran's costume design, above right.  (Courtesy: Focus Features)  

By Omar P.L. Moore/The Popcorn Reel

February 1, 2008

One of the green dresses actually worn by Keira Knightley during her role as Cecilia Tallis in the Oscar-nominated 2007 film "Atonement" is being auctioned online beginning today through March 1, by the organization Clothes Off Our Back, to benefit Variety, the Children's Charity.  Clothes Off Our Back was founded by Jane Kaczmarek and Bradley Whitford in 2002 "as a way for celebrities to give back in the easiest possible way," said the organization's spokesperson Michel Schneider. 

The organization generally holds auctions online and has reached millions in the process.  "In the media you see that there is a fascination with celebrities and fashion.  So [Kaczmarek and Whitford] wanted to take advantage of that.  And because none of these celebrities can wear an outfit a second time, they decided to ask the actors to donate their red carpet attire . . . give it to us and we would then auction it off and raise money for various children's charities," Schneider said.

In the past six years since its inception online auction with the Emmys in 2002, Clothes Off Our Back has raised more than $2 million for various children's charities.  Typically the auctions occur monthly and get four million visitors per auction.

The auctioning of Ms. Knightley's "Atonement" costume marks the first time that Clothes Off Our Back has auctioned Hollywood memorabilia, and the organization plans to continue doing so. 

Said Schneider: "It's very exciting.  Focus Features is a great studio.  ("Atonement" is) also nominated for costume and art direction, so to have such a beloved film, a popular film right now, with such a popular actress -- to have someone be able to bid on this dress -- is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  Some of our gowns have sold for tens of thousands of dollars, so we're hoping that this one reaches that, if not becomes our highest-selling gown," Schneider added.

The green dress from "Atonement" was specially made for Miss Knightley and in multiples because the dress was so fragile.  Jacqueline Durran, who is nominated for the film's costume design and authenticated the dress, said in a statement released yesterday that the film's director Joe Wright, "wanted something that would flow because Keira Knightley would have to move around in it.  We picked this specific shade of green for the backless dress, and Keira was involved in the process, so it really was a collaboration."

The "Atonement" green dress auction is now online at, through March 1.

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