Thursday, October 22, 2020

Tilda Swinton, Olivier Saillard and the Art of Dressing

Illustration by Konstantin Kakanias


Tilda Swinton, Olivier Saillard and the Art of Dressing

Alexandria Symonds

November 24, 2015

Over the last few years, Tilda Swinton has collaborated with the fashion curator Olivier Saillard on three rather unusual live performances, now documented in a catalog called ‘‘Impossible Wardrobes.’’ In one piece, Saillard and Swinton made a dress to measure, with Swinton as a dress form. For another, the actress painstakingly carried historically significant items of clothing, like Napoleon’s coat, down a runway. ‘‘In many ways,’’ she explains, ‘‘the clothes operated as a bridge to the person no longer inside them — almost as if the garment is a symptom or a leaf shed from a tree.’’ In the final work, Swinton assumed the role of coat-check attendant, leaving bits of personal ephemera, like a drop of perfume or a lipstick-smeared tissue, in visitors’ pockets. ‘‘I still prize the old shoes and tiny cardigans of my now sky-scraping children,’’ Swinton says. ‘‘They link to the past like portals.’’




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