19.07.2015 - Jessica Marrazzo

Fashion People

Tilda Swinton




She grew up in an elite urban environment, mixing with the socialites of her generation. It was also at this time that she made a long lasting friendship with the infamous Princess Diana. Soon after her studies, she started working with the Royal Shakespeare Company, touring the country to act in some of the most prestigious productions of the time. Then came the films. Having explored raw emotion on the stage, it was her first mainstream film “The Beach” that launched her in to an entirely different realm. To her, the red carpet was foreign territory, yet her friendship with producer Jerry Stafford encouraged her to see fashion as a game, as something to have fun with.



She delved in to the fashion world for the first time in 2003, taking part in Viktor & Rolf’s fashion show titled “One Woman Show”. The designers used her as a muse for the collection, styling the rest of the models to look just like her, with cropped blonde hair and minimalist clothing. It was a statement of glamorous simplicity, of structured tailoring and avant-garde cuts. This stylish debut caused a stir within the industry, walking away from over-styled luxury to embrace a new, paired down way of life. It was something that the world could relate too, making little go a long way. She famously takes the same approach to make-up, rarely using mascara and using neutral hues to transform her look each day. Following her instincts, she decided to accept Chanel’s offer of becoming the new brand ambassador in May 2013, and most recently working for Nars too. This year, she also decided to mix her two loves of acting and style, starring in a one-woman performance piece in Paris, entitled “Cloakroom”. The same fragility of exposing your work to the public is something shared between actors and designers alike, a nerve-wracking and tantalising experience all at once.

Short Facts


Tilda Swinton is known for embracing her own minimalist style and going against the crowd. Her choices may not always follow the latest trends or be the most popular, but they are most certainly always of the moment.


She loves purity in all its forms. White blonde, short-cropped hair frames her defined cheekbones perfectly, drawing attention to her piercing blue eyes. Her elongated slender figure makes her the perfect muse for designers everywhere, whilst keeping herself routed in reality.


She favours rugged handsomeness over traditional beauty, commenting on her father “I would rather be handsome, as he is, for an hour than pretty for a week.”

Tilda Swinton sits next to Haider Ackermann in the front row of Hanae Mori Show during Tokyo Fashion Week.


1960 - An artistic beginning

Katherine Mathilda "Tilda" Swinton of Kimmerghame was born in London. After attending three independent schools; Queen’s Gate School, West Heath Girls’ School and Fettes College; she went on to study Social and Political Sciences at Cambridge university.  

1984 – Making an appearance

She joined the Royal Shakespeare company, starring in prestigious plays such as Measure for Measure. During this time, she also worked with Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre.

1986 – On screen

Swinton appears in her first film, Caravaggio, directed by Derek Jarman. She went on to star in several other filsm, such as Edward II and War Requiem.

1995 – Creative soul

She developed a live art/installation piece in the Serpentine Gallery, London, naming it “The Maybe”. She exhibited herself in a glass box for a week, apparently sleeping as part of a performance art.

2003 – Fashion steps

Swinton was invited to collaborate with Viktor & Rolf for their “One Woman Show” in 2003. During the fashion show, she also read her own poem that included the line “There is only one you. Only one.”

2013 – Sheer beauty

She starred in the Chanel campaigns, becoming the face of the brand. The same year, she was also named one of the best-dressed over-50s by The Guardian.

2015 – Nars chapter

Continuing her love of all things simple, she becomes an ambassador for Nars cosmetics.


© GettyImages


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