Great news! The Harper’s Bazaar website has just revealed that Chloë Sevigny is featured in a multi-page editorial in the March 2011 issue of US Bazaar, with Kim Kardashian on the cover. Six medium-res outtakes from the photo spread have been uploaded to the gallery; the new photoshoot was photographed by Cedric Buchet. We’ll naturally post the scans here as soon as possible.
Chloë Sevigny’s Big Love
While the star’s famed style has evolved from punkish to polished, she’ll always be a fashion rebel at heart.
By DEREK BLASBERG
Two hours before I meet Chloë Sevigny, a message pops up on my phone titled APOCALYPSE: 2011. I open it and discover that in addition to birds falling from the sky, there’s further proof the world is ending. Attached is a photo of Sevigny sitting courtside at a Knicks game, seemingly on a date with Jersey Shore‘s Pauly D.
When I arrive at Sevigny’s home, a quaint ground-floor flat on a leafy street in New York’s East Village, she howls with laughter at the photo. While she found Pauly D sweet and his hair fascinating (“like a mixture of egg yolk and Elmer’s glue”), the delicious irony is not lost on her. “Wouldn’t that be the strangest couple ever on earth?”
Yes, it would. Sevigny, 36, has been the reigning queen of anti-Hollywood, East Coast cool for nearly two decades, since starring in Larry Clark’s 1995 film Kids. Her subsequent indie roles (including 1999’s Boys Don’t Cry, which earned her an Oscar nod) and downtown style only cemented her status, which she’s both proud of and a bit disenchanted with.
“I’m becoming more comfortable with being the outsider, though I’m not sure why it’s still the case,” she says over a pot of green tea. From the start of her career, Sevigny has avoided anything mainstream, even blowing off a shoot with Steven Meisel when she was a teen. “When I was younger, I was really anti-Hollywood,” she says. “Now I’m more accepting of it because I’m less of a snob.”
What has been consistent is her individual style. In 1992, all Sevigny wanted for her 18th birthday was a pair of Martin Margiela “hoof boots,” with cloven toes. She visited them daily at the store until her parents bought them for her. When she graduated from high school in Darien, Connecticut, she couldn’t afford a coveted Margiela necklace, so she made her own with a piece of lace and a twig. These early looks included but were not limited to perms, metallic bikinis, face paint, and ripped-up vintage wedding dresses. “I. Used. To. Rock. The. Craziest. Outfits. You. Have. Ever. Seen. In. Your. Life,” she says, slapping her kitchen counter for emphasis.
This was all before blogs and street-style fashion sites. “Thank God I grew up before all that.” She sighs. “I feel like we were the last generation, and there’s this big divide before and after the 1990s. I feel sorry for the kids today. It’s all too much.”
Sevigny doesn’t own a TV and doesn’t Google anything, including herself. Best-dressed lists and unflattering paparazzi pictures irk her — “Whenever I’m walking down the beach in a bikini or on a red carpet, all I can see is ‘What Was She Thinking?'” — and she is fearful of what prospective suitors might find online. “If I could edit Google Images, then I wouldn’t be as scared of the Internet,” she says, laughing.
She finally caved and joined Facebook last year, albeit under an alias. “I wanted to represent myself online in some way,” she explains. “Just to my friends. I have only a few friends on there anyway, and I have most of their numbers in my phone.”
Sevigny laughs when I ask if she considers herself a sex symbol. “Know what I get the most?” she says. “People say, ‘You’re so much prettier in person.’ I’m like, ‘Thank you?'”
Like all girls, she has hang-ups about her appearance. Sevigny’s weight fluctuates between 125 and 135 pounds (though she avoids scales because “I can tell by the way my denim fits”), and she says she doesn’t like her face. “I wish I looked more like my mother, but I think I look like my father,” she says. “I wish I had one of those naturally beautiful faces. Or a more quirky face. I’m right down the middle: not interesting enough, not pretty enough.” Her fashion confidence, however, is invincible. She was one of Nicolas Ghesquière’s first champions at Balenciaga, and when the little-known Alber Elbaz was at Yves Saint Laurent, 25-year-old Sevigny asked him to dress her for the awards shows she attended for Boys Don’t Cry. She has Elbaz’s original sketches of those gowns framed in her closet. “He sent them instead of flowers.”
Sevigny knows that some of her choices have perplexed onlookers, but such scrutiny hasn’t deterred her from living on fashion’s edge–even when, at times, she’s literally teetered on it. Sevigny once broke her front teeth when wearing a pair of Balenciaga boots, spending the night in the hospital and the next day at the dentist. “It was the worst thing ever,” she says. Not that she’s given up the boots: “They’re some of my favorite shoes of all time.”
She turned her fashion sense into a business three years ago, starting her own line with Opening Ceremony that’s sold in more than 25 countries. There’s such demand for it that they’ve had to remake entire collections midseason. “I’m not trying to compete with high fashion,” she says. “I’m doing streetwear. Everyone is trying to be so hip. I like that my dresses are a little dorky. I think it’s refreshing now to not try and be so cool.”
Her willingness to chill out about her career is also paying off. Trading in her indie cred to play Mormon wife Nicki on HBO’s Big Love won her a Golden Globe last year. Sevigny admits to sobbing backstage after she received the award even though, she says, “I hate it when people get up there and start crying.” By her own account, it was a defining moment.
“I hate to admit it, but it was one of the biggest confidence boosters I’ve ever had. I felt really powerful. I know it’s nothing, just a stupid statue, but I felt like ‘Good for me!'”
Still, she is excited about life after Big Love, now in its final season. “I’ve never been able to be glamorous onscreen, which I’m looking for,” she says. But not ditzy glamorous. “I want Julianne Moore in the Tom Ford picture, the tragic glamour.” She smiles. “Yeah, that’s the ticket.”