30 Perfect Minutes With Chloë Sevigny

chloe sevigny man repeller

There is a picture of Chloë Sevigny from 2009 that is burned into my memory’s mood board. She is wearing a silk white blouse under an ivory blazer with scalloped lapels from a Chloé collection by Hannah MacGibbon, which is as equally burned into the mood board. Her vintage Levi’s hot pants represent this idyllic (non)stretch, wash, and rise—the triple threat combination that any aspiring aficionado of Good Denim consistently pursues, and they are fastened by a simple black belt with a silver buckle. She’s holding an innocuous zip pouch, the kind that makes you think she just picked it up on her way out because she needed something to hold her shit but didn’t really care what it was. Her hair, which is long, down, blonde, and boasting her signature baby hairs is styled into an exaggerated combover. Everything about her seems to depict what I believe to be the apogee of personal style, and when I confront her about the outfit, her response embodies it too:

“I just put that on.”

This response does not come off as self-aggrandizing at all. I teed her up to answer that way, practically salivating as I described the blazer, the wash on the shorts, and the innocuousness of her pouch. I think by virtue of how many looks she has worn, how many stylists she has worked with, and how many elaborate garments she has allowed her body to canvass, she is surprised more than anything.

“I still have the blazer,” she goes on. “It’s in storage by my mom’s in Connecticut.”

She’s coming from there—Connecticut, I mean, not the storage unit—and I can guess, given how sprightly she is, that it was a damn good or at least relaxing time. Either that or she’s very excited about the spoils with which she has returned. An overstuffed L.L. Bean tote sits next to her in the second-floor lounge that moonlights as a lobby for 11 Howard, the hotel on Crosby street that is connected to the restaurant, Le Cou Cou. We’re here today because she’s launching a collaboration with the five-year-old fragrance brand by Alia Raza and Ezra Woods, Regime des Fleurs.

Woods is an old friend of Sevigny’s: “I’ve known [him] since he was just out of high school. When I was in L.A. doing Big Love, we became fast friends, and I just became obsessed with him; he was this young boy who had really sophisticated taste and through the years, we’ve done different work together. For a minute, he thought he wanted to be a celebrity stylist. So I let him do me for some high-profile events. One was the Emmy’s when Big Love was nominated. He put me in an [Isaac Mizrahi] thing. That was pretty.”

After he and Alia Raza launched Regime des Fleurs, she fell in love with the brand. Eventually, they asked if she’d ever thought of doing a fragrance. “I go, ‘I’ve never really been approached.’ And they were like, ‘Do you want to do it?’ I was like, ‘With you guys? For sure.’ Anything to help elevate them and, selfishly, to get my own scent.”

She had worn Comme des Garcons Rose for years, but it was discontinued, she says. “So I was always searching for the right perfume—I wore Hermes Rose Ikebana for a while afterward, but I couldn’t find the perfect rose scent. [Raza and Woods] were like, ‘We’re going to make you something that you like even more that Comme des.'”

When she was a little girl she collected perfume bottles. “That was my thing,” she says. “My mom and my aunt would find them at tag sales and thrift stores and I collected the empty bottles. My collection was massive, I even showed it in elementary school in the glass case in the library. Scent is the strongest memory sense, they say.”

Tomorrow, the scent, called Little Flower, is officially available through the site and Dover Street Market. The bottle features the brand’s signature crest reimagined as a rose with Sevigny’s name and the bottle cap closure looks like a giant pearl. “It’s me,” she says of the design.

This is one of a number of projects she is working on currently: there is the denim capsule collection that Opening Ceremony in Japan will launch imminently, and an 8-part mini series for HBO called We Are Who We Are, directed by Call Me By Your Name‘s Luca Guadagnino, that she is filming in Italy. “It’s a coming-of-age series that takes place on an army base in Italy,” she tells me. “I play a mom—a lesbian colonel in the army. My son is played by Jack Dylan [who is] questioning his sexuality. He befriends some of the other kids who are also unsure of their gender on the base. It’s very timely. And in that way, it’s very Luca. He has a very good pulse on who the people of the moment are, who will actually resonate. Timothee Chalamet did such a great job in Call Me By Your Name. I’m on a break, but I go back next month, and am there until November.”

Today, even though she’s not wearing the precise outfit that is burned into my mood board, the recipe bears a striking resemblance to it. Her shirt is Maison Martin Margiela; she says she got it from Resurrection at least 10 years ago. It might be from the circle collection of 2006. Over it, she has styled a mens Maison Martin Margiela blazer that she bought from a consignment shop in San Francisco. It’s the perfect summer blazer because it’s not lined. “I love vintage shopping. It’s like the most relaxing thing in the world to me. I’ll be on location somewhere and I’ll discover something through the vintage stores. I don’t even have to buy anything. They’ll have the same merchandise for a year but I’ll still go through the racks every couple weeks.”

I get it, because I do that, too, but with online shopping. It’s enough, most of the time, to just scroll through the product pages. Chloe Sevigny doesn’t really online shop, though. She prefers a more tactile experience, which is perhaps reflected in the micro-shorts she is wearing, purchased very recently from the Adidas store in Soho. They are tiny and electric blue, with those signature stripes down the sides. Her shoes, bought in Connecticut, are by a brand that she called “a knock-off Birkenstock.” Technically, they’re Naot, the de facto Israeli knock-off in which the feet of my youth spent years traversing the hills of a Jewish sleepaway camp in the Poconos.

chloe sevigny man repeller

Bringing this up seems to prompt Sevigny’s asking about what I’m wearing today—a military green quilted tank top and metallic basketball shorts. She says my wardrobe must be gigantic, and I tell her that actually, it’s pretty tiny. That I never wanted a big wardrobe, but always wanted to have the kind of wardrobe you could walk into blindfolded and pull anything out from while thinking, Yeah, I definitely want to wear this.

“That’s just another way to say you want a uniform,” she resolves as if the simplest math equation of arithmetic measure. And she’s right. This analysis is reflective of her broader style—the matter-of-fact way in which she just knows what cinematic parts make sense for her, why creating a fragrance with a small band (and brand) of friends instead of a beauty-giant is a better bet, and how to get dressed. She gets it—herself. That is so clear in even the discrepancy between the outfit she wore 10 years ago and the one she’s wearing today. I guess because of that, what she touches becomes uniform.

Chloe Sevigny will be at Dover Street Market in New York City on Wednesday, August 21st, from 5-7pm to celebrate the launch of her collaboration with Regime des Fleurs.

Leandra M. Cohen

Leandra M. Cohen is the founder of Man Repeller.

More from Archive