Behind-the-Scenes of the
Backstage in Scotland with Tilda Swinton to talk inspiring friendships and the magic of mystery films.
On set with avant-garde legend Tilda Swinton
goddess of avant-garde.
We all recognize that angular face with the otherworldly green eyes, usually topped off by a boyish quiff. Admittedly we even affectionately call her “Tilda” – the goddess of avant-garde, acclaimed actress and a mother of two. She not only has her own film festival, but is a style icon in her own right, has slept in a glass installation box at the Serpentine Gallery and refreshingly lacks vanity despite runway cheekbones and a Victorian air. Tilda Swinton, 53, is London-born and began her career in theatre at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Eventually she progressed into film, making her defining mark in 1986 with filmmaker Derek Jarman. Imparted with his advice from those early days to “turn up on time and hold your own light,” she’s proven herself a reckoning force in both art house and mainstream.
Succeeding at countless roles unrecognizably different from the previous, this self-contained enigma rivets the attention of the audience today as a screen chameleon.
Yet out of all the legends she has worked beside over the years, there is perhaps none as enduringly close to her than Colombian fashion designer Haider Ackermann. “Playmates,” they call each other, enjoying a friendship over a decade long. “Haider is someone I love as a friend,” Swinton explains. “I have that wonderful combination of admiring one of my closest friends and his work.” The respect is mutual and she has become synonymous in fashion with Ackermann’s edgy romanticism. Now, these two kindred spirits rendezvous once more. This time, for the production of the latest Mercedes-Benz “special sets the standard” Fashion Campaign Spring/Summer 2015 – a mystery story “in a super sonic capsule of a car.” Standing beside this S-Class Coupé, Swinton appears noble and arcane in the understated Ackermann masterpiece.
Amongst the ancient Scottish landscapes Swinton describes her friend’s work as “so perfectly blended into the rocks, it feels like we might have dug them up somewhere in a chest.” A bow to Ackermann as the master of silhouettes, textures and subtle colour compositions.
The Oscar-winning actress returns home to a simple way of life in the nearby Scottish Highlands, away from the luxurious glam of her profession. On recalling the various experiences since the formative Jarman-days, she admits to most enjoying those spent with those like Ackermann, “people who would rather have a great time and let work be a symptom of that.” Eyes alive with a tinge of humour, she holds to a belief. “People who collaborate and like each other, a-muse each other.” With that, Swinton flashes one of her intellectual smiles bordering of great mysteries, leaving us to wonder: who could ever really know Tilda?