NEW YORK – Reese Witherspoon's gown wasn't vintage — though it had been worn by another actress three years ago.
Witherspoon, the best actress in a musical or comedy winner for "Walk the Line," was seen asking Chanel President Maureen Chiquet at an after-party why she wasn't told the gown already had a public outing, Women's Wear Daily reported.
Gretchen Fenton, publicist for Chanel, told The Associated Press the fashion house was "unaware" that Dunst, star of the "Spider-Man" movies, had worn the dress.
The fashion house apologized for "the oversight."
"We are honored that Reese chose to wear Chanel and thought she looked beautiful," the company said in a statement. "We congratulate her on her well-deserved win."
Witherspoon believed the gown — in a champagne color with metallic trim on the bust — was vintage, her publicist, Nanci Ryder, was reported as telling the New York Post in Wednesday's editions.
"Reese was told the dress was vintage," Ryder was quoted as saying. "It was not. I'm not angry — just a little disappointed, but the big deal is Reese won the Golden Globe."
A press release from the company on celebrities wearing Chanel gowns to the Golden Globes had described the dress as vintage. Fenton said the gown is from the 2002 couture collection and isn't considered vintage.
Still, Fenton said, the term vintage, long used to classify dresses from bygone eras, has become "very vague" and is a "new way" to define apparel not available in recent designer collections.
The snafu is "embarrassing for both Reese and Chanel," celebrity stylist Phillip Bloch told the AP, calling Witherspoon "a victim of people just not doing their job correctly."
"She was a victim of fashion powers that be," he said.
Ryder and her designer-loving clients, who include Jennifer Lopez and Renee Zellweger, will continue to support Chanel, said publicist Leslie Sloan, who works with Ryder at the Baker Winokur Ryder publicity firm.
The Golden Globe Awards were presented Monday in Beverly Hills, Calif.