Tilda Swinton is nothing if not a creature of curiosity and study. Last night, beginning a week-long performative collaboration with fashion curator Olivier Saillard, director of Palais Galliera in Paris, the actress communed with the jackets and coats left for her by the audience before taking their seats. Silently, she gently stroked, folded, cradled, and crawled under or laid beside them for nearly an hour, contemplating their stories and channeling their “spirits,” she said later.
Handling each piece with forensic care, Swinton would occasionally leave a keepsake. These included a scented envelope in a pocket, a lipstick-blotted tissue in a biker jacket, and a strand of her hair on a lapel. She thereby insinuated a little of herself in the item’s life story, to the delight of the objects’ owners, who included Alber Elbaz, Pierre Bergé, Charlotte Rampling, Haider Ackermann, Christian Lacroix, and Stella Tennant.
Cloakroom is the latest performance conceived by Swinton and Saillard as part of the annual Festival d’Automne in Paris. Last year their performance, Eternity Dress, consisted of Saillard measuring the actress onstage and the two constructing a garment for her to wear on the spot. In the Impossible Wardrobe the year before that, Swinton donned several items of historical dress — sometimes centuries old — from the Palais Galliera’s archives.
Cloakroom — Vestiaire Obligatoire, November 22-29, 2014, Palais Galliera, 10 avenue Pierre, Paris