Let me make something clear right up top: There is only one Katherine Matilda “Tilda” Swinton, Oscar-winning actress and established style icon. Swinton is incomparable in every way, especially to those with half her wisdom and experience. I wouldn’t dare suggest that anyone could fill her shoes. But I would suggest that they try.
Tilda Swinton’s presence is so large that when she is not in a room, it is noticeable and oftentimes depressing. She makes red carpets infinitely more interesting with her avant-garde, David Bowie–esque style. Who can forget when she wore a John Galliano Dior fruit gown to Cannes? Or her oversize silk bomber jacket from three years later? She’s worn shirts made of flowers, flags, and gold glitter. She loves statement suits, rich fabrics, and sculptural, statuesque silhouettes. Recently, she wore a Schiaparelli jacket with tiny hands for buttons.
Timothée Chalamet isn’t at Tilda Swinton’s level yet, but wouldn’t it be amazing if he at least gave it a try? Really, everyone should aspire to this level of greatness, but Chalamet has more of a shot than the rest of us.
Both Swinton and Chalamet wear clothes like they understand them. Even when someone has dressed them for an event, you can tell they’re passionate about the look and might wear it in real life of their own accord. Both understand that their floppy, perfectly tussled hair is the best accessory. Both channel a fluid sexual energy and are unafraid to toy with androgynous style. Both have prominent cheekbones and a kind of intensity in their eyes. Both have towering figures (Chalamet is 6 feet tall, and Swinton is just two inches shorter). And both are muses for the same designer, Haider Ackermann.
Ackermann and Swinton have been longtime friends, collaborators, and travel companions. Chalamet — also known as “Timo,” “The Handsome Dude,” and “My Little Bro,” as Ackermann fondly calls him — is clearly the rookie of the pack, but a stamp of approval from Ackermann means a great deal, fashion-wise. It means getting to wear his impeccably tailored, unconventional suits on the red carpet, and also learn from him as a style mentor. GQ Style called the Ackermann–Chalamet relationship “one of the most endearing celebrity-fashion friendships of the Instagram age.”
Chalamet has advanced taste and mentorship for someone his age, but he still has a lot to learn. If he really wants to run with a crowd that’s this stylish, he’s going to have to work for it by reaching a little further, and by taking more risks. Right now, it’s hard to pinpoint what, exactly, his style is. And as a result, he’s compared to just about everyone, including Lucas Hedges, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Jamie Lee Curtis. He is everything and everyone, but also not someone we know.
We do know that Timo’s got it in him to be something great. After all, there was only one beautiful boy wearing a harness at the Golden Globes on Sunday night. And he brought his mom as a date, not Lily-Rose Depp — a sign that he takes this seriously, but is also in for the fun of it. In general, the world of celebrity fashion could be more fun. Here’s hoping Timothée can help take it there.
May the below pictures of Tilda Swinton and Timothée Chalamet standing next to each other serve merely as some positive encouragement.