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Tilda's Big Night

A birthday and a black-tie benefit honoring Swinton

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David Bowie and Tilda Swinton   
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"She's not a fashion person. She's an actress and clothes look great on her," explained Karl Lagerfeld of his longtime friend, muse, and collaborator Tilda Swinton. "I've known her for twenty years, and what's surprising is that her personality hasn't been affected: She's always looked modern avant-garde. She's as modern today as she was twenty years ago."

Lagerfeld was speaking about Swinton from the entrance of MoMA's rose-lined tribute to the actress, an event that brought in the likes of David Bowie, Sofia Coppola, Jessica Biel, Wes Anderson, and Iman. It was a Chanel-sponsored party—with no shortage of KL creations (Karlie Kloss, in jet-black Alexander Wang, was one exception) and no skimping on praise for the honoree, who happened to be celebrating her 53rd birthday in a cream-and-pearl-white pantsuit straight from the label's new collection.

"It's my birthday, and they're throwing me a party!" exclaimed Swinton upon arrival, moments later. What could be better? The fete, complete with a performance by electro-pop sensation Lorde that gave way to an elegant dinner, culminated with a rose-pink cake for the strawberry-blond siren.

"She stands alone because of who she is," related Ralph Fiennes. "In the end, actors are who they are; what's inside them defines them. And I think we're all here tonight because we recognize that she has a unique quality—not only as a woman but as an actress, as an artist. She has something special."

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