If you spent much of the early days of lockdown suited up in sweatpants, you’re not alone; sales rocketed up 80 percent at the beginning of lockdown in the U.S. last April, while overall clothing sales dropped to a record-breaking 79 percent. Keira Knightley, however, went a different route—and not when wearing “Zoom shirts.” The actor instead gussied up in head-to-toe Chanel.
“I put on red lipstick every day, and every bit of Chanel that I have in my cupboard,” Knightley said in Harper’s Bazaar’s July cover story. In an attempt to boost morale, she and her family instituted a singular rule: “We have a trampoline in our garden, and we decided we were only allowed to wear dresses on it.” Her six-year-old daughter Edie embraced the change, accessorizing with fairy wings and Chanel ribbons braided into her hair. Knightley’s husband, former Klaxons member James Righton, opted for a different fashion mainstay, and only occasionally: He was only allowed to join when in one of his peacock-colored Gucci suits.
Knightley is a longtime Chanel ambassador, having taken over from Kate Moss as the face of the fragrance Mademoiselle Coco Chanel at age 21. Still, it’s hard to imagine that even the house’s creative director, Virginie Viard, would expect so much of the 36-year-old, especially since she wasn’t being papped or posting on Instagram.
The late Karl Lagerfeld, on the other hand, would no doubt approve. “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat,” the designer once memorably quipped—a standout even among his countless iconic quotes. “You lost control of your life, so you bought some sweatpants.” Knightley has fond memories of Lagerfeld, of whom she said she was “too young to be terrified” when they first met.
“I was staying at the Ritz, and when I opened the wardrobe, I found all these Chanel clothes in there,” she recalled. “I just thought the room hadn’t been cleaned, so I phoned down to reception to say someone had left their clothes behind, and they said they were for my stay—but not to keep.” Apparently, even for Knightley, “it’s always a Cinderella moment.”