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CLOTHES CALL: “It’s all about the intimacy of clothes,” commented Haider Ackermann after seeing his friend Tilda Swinton performing “Cloakroom” at the Galliera Museum in Paris on Friday night. “You always remember the jacket you wore to a concert and the person you were with that night — it’s nice to absorb the smells, to have a relationship and to cherish your clothes. It’s very sexual,” the designer noted.

Swinton channeled that tension and energy into a 45-minute piece, most of which was performed in silence. The actress tenderly stroked the garments, folding and unfolding them with unusual care and studied movements. She cradled a woman’s coat like a newborn baby, and examined the items that were put before her by members of the audience (this was an interactive piece) as if she were dissecting a mummy, trying to figure out where it came from and how the person perished. Every now and then, the actress lunged on the table to get more physical or explored the dangling sleeves of a jacket from underneath the table — as if she were a curious wild cat.

This story first appeared in the November 24, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“We practiced not knowing what we were doing, which is the best way to do it,” Swinton explained after the show, which is slated to run through Nov. 29. “I don’t have as many garments at home as I dealt with today, but they all have spirits, so it’s hard to throw things away that you have lived a life in.”

Christian Lacroix was not surprised to hear Swinton hasn’t had any professional training as an actress or a dancer, which the theater piece might have implied. “She is an aristocrat with a long-standing history. I think she holds all these centuries of humanity inside her,” he said, calling Swinton “an angel in disguise.”

“Beautiful body language — every still [from the theater piece] will make a pretty picture,” attested fellow Brit Stella Tennant, while Saskia de Brauw said, “My takeaway from this is: use your imagination.”

Alber Elbaz, Bouchra Jarrar, Lucas Ossendrijver, Charlotte Rampling and Bruno Frissoni were also spotted among the guests.

Following “The Impossible Wardrobe” (2012) and “Eternity Dress” (2013), “Cloakroom” is Swinton’s third theatrical piece inspired by the world of fashion, written and directed by Palais Galliera’s Olivier Saillard.

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