Although she’s acted in several period movies—including her latest, Anna Karenina (opening November 16), in which she’s laced into a corset—Knightley always seems like an utterly modern girl. Instead of relying on her beauty, she has an innate and disarming curiosity and an appealingly direct manner, and like all the best women of the last decade, she’s up for a challenge.
What fashion trend from the past 10 years do you particularly dislike?
I think skinny jeans and micro-miniskirts are very unfriendly. I’ve been known to wear both, but on some days it seems like they were invented to make you feel bad about yourself.
What’s your favorite movie from the last decade?
I have two: The Beat That My Heart Skipped is a French film I’ve watched again and again. It’s so rough and yet still kind of beautiful—I just love the juxtaposition of serenity and violence. And My Life Without Me is understated and heartbreaking. The fact that the main character doesn’t tell anyone she’s very ill—it gets me every single time.
Who from the past 10 years do you particularly admire?
The artist Pipilotti Rist. I’ve had one of her postcards—a really beautiful scenery picture—on my mirror for ages. But only when I recently went to an exhibition of her work did I see that her art was distinctly from a woman’s point of view. I spent hours looking at it—and found the show so incredibly inspiring I went back three times.
Hair by Luigi Murenu for Kérastase Paris; makeup by Val Garland at Streeters; manicures by Bernadette Thompson. Set design by Jack Flanagan. Production by North6. Photography assistants: Dominick Sheldon, Nico Kern, Jim Alexandrou, Ashley Renolds, Justin Farkas, Pavel Woznicki. Fashion assistants: Felicia Garcia-Rivera, Dena Giannini.