Tilda Swinton Turns Fashion Into Art In New Performance Piece

Tilda Swinton in "Cloakroom—Vestair Obligatoire".
Photo by Katerina Jebb.

Tilda Swinton, best known for her Hollywood star power, has collaborated for several years with Olivier Saillard, the director of Paris’ Palais Galliera fashion museum, on an annual performance for the city’s Festival d’Automne.

This year, the dynamic duo have created a piece titled “Cloakroom—Vestiaire Obligatoire” which opened on November 22nd and runs for a week. The preview performance had famous Parisian faces in attendance, such as Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz, Charlotte Rampling, and Pierre Bergé, reports T Magazine. As spectators sauntered their way into the room, they handed over their jackets and coats to the actress before seating themselves at a wooden table that served as the stage threshold.

Swinton then proceeded to lay out each garment, held it up, smoothed it out, crouched or lay on top of it, all while contemplating each garb. Periods of silence were interspersedly sprinkled with ambient sounds by “music stylists” Mode-F.

As a take-home from the experience, the actress would add a keepsake to each coat: an envelope scented, sealed and then slipped into a pocket, a plucked hair, or a lipstick-blotted tissue. At the end of the performance, each owner recovered his or her jacket.

Swinton later described her collaboration with Saillard to T. “It’s built on a shared complicity and a shared determination to be playful,” she said. “Our idea this time was to have no structure at all…We dared each other to be this sauvage. Who knows what will happen—it will be different every night.”

The actress remarked, “In my view, possibly the most interesting thing about clothes is that people live in them. It’s the breath in them that actually attaches us to them.”

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