Fashion and film: Anna Karenina Wright Jaqueline Durran Keira Knightley Jude Law

Joe Wright‘s rendition of Leo Tolstoy‘s famous Anna Karenina is, in a word, spellbinding. It brings together all the best elements of direction, choreography, sound design and costuming to bring us a beautiful film stuffed with romance, with just the right amount of Tolstoy’s social and political commentary to keep it from being too whimsical.

Keira Knightley - Anna Karenina 2013

Tom Stoppard‘s screenplay isn’t heavy on dialogue. Like Tolstoy, who pioneered the now commonplace interior monologue (where we read the thoughts and feelings directly, rather than them being paraphrased by the author), Stoppard relies heavily on the sets, costuming and direction to move the story along and share the characters’ thoughts and feelings with the audience.

Keira Knightley - Anna Karenina 2013

This is often where film adaptations of books fall apart; while telling a story beautifully, often I hear fans of the books dissatisfied with the ‘feel’ of the movie – it lacks an important aspect of the novel that can’t be demonstrated by great dialogue or beautiful costumes. Not so with Anna Karenina.

Anna Karenina 2013 film

Wright’s direction and extensive sets, Stoppard’s screenplay and Jaqueline Durran‘s beautiful costumes give an air to the film that does justice to the romance and tension of Tolstoy’s novel.

Anna Karenina movie 2013

Durran’s costumes are a definite highlight of the film. She was nominated for an Oscar for them. When Joe Wright asked her to focus on the shape of the costumes rather than the trimmings, Durran introduced a silhouette that was 1950s couture in its origins. “The 1950s is a period everyone understands as a high point of couture.

Keira Knightley as Anna in the 2013 adaptation

If you want to play into people’s idea of luxury, referencing the 1950s is useful. It was a good match, because the cinched waist, fitted bodices and big skirts were similar to the shapes of the 1870s,” she told the Telegraph last week. Match it with jewellery by Chanel and we reckon Durran might finally get her Oscar.

Domhnall Gleeson in Anna Karenina 2013

An element of Anna Karenina that really intrigued me was the use of the stage as a set. It lent a feeling of production to the events of the film, and lended drama to already dramatic events such as the horse race and the opera scene.

The stage and auditorium, used as sets in most of the society scenes, made the audience feel part of the action, or at least complicit in Anna’s humiliation. This is rather a different feeling for this movie-goer, and it definitely drew me into the action.

Anna Karenina by Joe Wright

The last thing I must mention is the direction. Many of the society scenes were choreographed more like dances, which heightened the feeling of production (which I mentioned earlier) and gave the whole thing a great amount of flair. I was sorry to see the choreography fall off in the second half of the film.


Anna Karenina is a perfect film for curling up on the couch with. It has the right amount of romance to keep its dark themes from being too serious, and the costuming and direction make this film a fashionista’s dream come true.

Keira Knightley - Anna Karenina 2013 movie

Check out some of Jaqueline Durran’s fabulous costume – from illustration to reality:

Anna Karenina costume Durran black ballgown.jpgAnna Karenina costumes Kiera Durran black ball gown.jpgJude Law - anna-karenina-costumes-Karenin.pngJude Law - anna-karenina-costumes-Karenin 2013.pngAnna Karenina costume Durran ivory tea gown2.jpgAnna Karenina costumes Kiera Durran ivory tea gown.jpgAnna Karenina costume Durran red ballgown.jpgAnna Karenina costumes Kiera Durran red ball gown.jpgVronsky - anna-karenina-costumes-illustrations - jacqueline durran.pngVronsky - anna-karenina-costumes 2013 jacqueline durran.pngkitty - anna-karenina-costumes - illustrations - jacqueline durran.pngAnna Karenina costumes Alicia Durran white ball gown Aaron Taylor-Johnson.jpgAnna Karenina costume Durran white opera gown.jpgAnna Karenina costumes Kiera Durran white opera gown.jpgAnna Karenina costume Durran.jpgAnna Karenina costumes Kiera Durran.jpg



More photos from the 2012 film adaptation here:

Keira Knightley - Anna Karenina - - keira-knightley-anna-karenina.jpgAnna-and-Stiva-anna-karenina-by-joe-wright 2012.jpgAnna-Karenina-2012-movie-stills-anna-karenina-by-joe-wright.jpgKeira Knightley - Anna Karenina - - Anna Karenina1.pngKeira Knightley - - 2012-09-04-Anna4.jpgKeira Knightley - Anna Karenina - - Anna Karenina15.pngKeira Knightley - - 2012-09-04-anna3.jpgKeira Knightley - Anna Karenina - - Anna Karenina7.PNGKeira Knightley - - Anna Karenina13.pngKeira Knightley - - Anna Karenina12.pngKeira Knightley - - Anna Karenina10.pngKeira Knightley - - Anna Karenina11.pngKeira Knightley - - Anna Karenina6.PNGKeira Knightley - - Anna_Karenina_01.jpgKeira Knightley - - -pictures-Jude Law - Knightley - -  aaron johnson-karenina1.JPGKeira Knightley - - Anna_Karenina_05.jpgKeira Knightley - - 2012 Anna Karenina2.jpgKeira Knightley - -  Anna-Karenina-Characters-posters-anna-karenina-by-joe-wright-32058611-480-769.jpgKeira Knightley - - -Aaron-Johnson-Movie-Image.jpgKeira Knightley - - 2012-09-04-anna2.jpgKeira Knightley - - 2012.jpgKeira Knightley - - Anna-Karenina-image.jpgKeira Knightley - - Keira-Knightley-as-Anna-Karenina-anna-karenina-by-joe-wright-28744037-474-704.pngKeira Knightley - - Anna Karenina16.pngKeira Knightley - - Anna Karenina4.PNGKeira Knightley - - Anna Karenina5.PNGKeira Knightley - - Anna Karenina8.PNGnew-stills-anna-karenina-by-joe-wright-Keira Knightley - Knightley - - Anna_Karenina_03.jpgKeira Knightley - - anna_karenina.jpgKeira Knightley - - Anna-Karenina-film-2012.jpgKeira Knightley - -2012.jpgKeira Knightley - - Anna-Karenina.jpgKeira Knightley - - Anna-Karenina-film.jpgKeira Knightley - - AnnaKarenina2012-008.jpgKeira Knightley in Anna KareninaKeira Knightley - - KeiraKnightley_AnnaKarenina.jpgKeira Knightley - - new-stills-anna-karenina-by-joe-wright.jpgNEW-Anna-Karenina-Characters-posters-anna-karenina-by-joe-wright-32058613-480-769.jpg


Film credits

Learn more about the 2012 film via Wikipedia and IMDB:



Keira Knightley in Chanel at the Anna Karenina 2012 UK film premiere

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 Ashleigh x


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