There is something so singular about Tilda Swinton that it’s hard to put a finger on just what it is that makes this A-list actor so memorable. Perhaps it’s her ability to completely disappear into challenging roles, or maybe it’s her amazing hair, which defies expectations whether it’s teased into a bouffant or worn scraped back against her skull. Her seductive androgyny plays a part in her allure as well, and her stylish looks on the red carpet speak to a brilliantly insightful sense of self. Her approach to fashion is artistic and bold, never backing down from statement-making pieces that would cause meeker actors to quiver in their platform heels. Much of what she wears utterly defies trends, a fact that has helped craft Swinton into a red carpet tastemaker who is willing to cross lines, gender roles, and fads to attain her own category of style. If it’s regal, elongated, and gorgeously draped, chances are Swinton will find a way to make it her own. Survey Swinton’s graceful, witty, and defiant red carpet choices by clicking through our Style File gallery above.
A periwinkle-blue silk waistcoat and flowing maxi skirt may feel old-fashioned until Swinton shows up in a version by Haider Ackermann and makes us second-guess ourselves.
Swinton embraces her masculine side in a tailored look by Chanel, which she tops with a long duster from the Chanel resort collection.
Swinton appears on the red carpet resembling a nomadic gypsy queen in a desert-hued Christian Lacroix gown featuring interesting construction and intricate details.
From time to time, Swinton ‘goes goth’ and swaddles herself in dark colors and fluid fabrics, like this velvet gown by Lanvin.
Elsa Schiaparelli’s surrealist designs are made for people just like Swinton, who would rather defy stereotypes than embrace them.
Swinton demonstrates her softer side in a glowing, retro-inspired taupe gown from Thakoon.
Moments like these are why Swinton is often regarded as a style icon, because who else could pull off a glittering gold pantsuit by Haider Ackermann and look this good?
Swinton channels Chanel’s recent penchant for mixing textures and patterns together in a look that blends knitwear with folkloric elements.
Proving that dandyism hasn’t died, Swinton swaggers down the red carpet in a handsome suit by Haider Ackermann.
This midnight-blue duster sparkles with feminine elements, adding a hint of romanticism to Swinton’s look.
Swinton’s haunting beauty is enhanced by this Valentino textured taupe coat, which she pairs with equally pale tones of nude.
Straightforward glamour is easily within Swinton’s reach (whenever she actually decides to run with it). Here she transforms into Hollywood royalty in a draped Haider Ackermann gown.
Swinton favors artistic elements, like complex silhouettes and major embellishment. Here, she combines both on a bronze two-piece Dior Couture gown.
Radiating a youthful glow, Swinton steps out in a more traditional look for the premiere of ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’.
Coordinated separates featuring a bold pattern add a fantastic element of style to Swinton’s masculine red carpet look.
Old Hollywood glamour beckons as Swinton appears at the 2012 SAG Awards in a simple ivory column gown by Lanvin.
An abstract-printed frock featuring a neckline similar to flower petals transforms Swinton into a radiant blossom on the red carpet.
Ever the contrarian, Swinton arrives at the premiere of ‘Young Adam’ in a patriotic blouse, low-slung denim jeans, and a pair of pointy-toed boots.
Swinton loves minimalism, and she wears it well, especially when it’s a stunning two-piece look by Chanel.
Her Haider Ackermann gown is so intricately tailored that it resembles hammered copper, and that’s just the kind of unusual look that Swinton prefers on the red carpet.
Swinton incorporates elements of menswear, a button-down shirt, and womenswear, a maxi skirt, for a look that underscores a perfect balance between the two worlds.
Occasionally, Swinton looks otherworldly, a fact that is highlighted by this blood-red silk gown that contrasts with her haunting, pale features.
Swinton demonstrates the perfect mix of black-and-white minimalism in a YSL suit.
Sleek, sophisticated, and powerful fashion is achieved by Swinton in a look as simple as a loose purple silk blouse and a high-waisted pair of trousers. This is the definition of effortless.