I Am Style: Tilda Swinton as Emma in Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 1, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 2044-2823
  • E-ISSN: 2044-2831


This article examines the relationship between costume and character, self and appearance in Luca Guadagnino’s film, Io Sono l’Amore/I Am Love (Guadagnino, 2009). As played by Tilda Swinton, Emma Recchi is a woman whose dress reveals a meticulous record of her emotional journey, providing an almost textbook case of costume performing emotional exteriority. Complicating any straightforward analysis of costume design in I Am Love, however, is a deep fashion consciousness that pervades the film and goes beyond the widely publicized association with fashion houses, Jil Sander, Fendi and Hermès, to a recognition of fashion as a complex discourse able to canvas multiple, even contradictory, interpretations. Just as Guadagnino draws on other narratives and other films to tell his story, Swinton’s off-screen life and on-screen personae shadow her portrayal of Emma, constructing a character who is both the unique individual of I Am Love and the hollow image of fashion that is the Emma of ‘I Am Style’.


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