Her enigmatic dress code has spawned a new namesake line with Opening Ceremony. Author and style soulmate Lesley Arfin got the inside story.
One of the perks of having actress Chloë Sevigny as a friend is that I occasionally get her hand-me-downs. Once she gave me a pale pink Lil' Orphan Annie dress; another time I got a little boy's military jacket à la Michael Jackson. Lucky for you, I'm no longer the only lucky one who gets to raid Chloë's wardrobe. Starting this February, Opening Ceremony will be home to Sevigny's first eponymous collection—a line chock-full of classic, everyday pieces reminiscent of punk, rockabilly, and Darien, Connecticut, where she spent her pre-Lanvin years.
Among my personal favorites from the new collection: a backless cropped pink sweater, a sheer black Jody Whatley-esque dress, and a porkpie hat made of recycled cassette tapes—ie: she's cool and environmentally conscious. For the launch of the line, Chloë asked her friends (me included) to model the line at Opening Ceremony, whose co-owners Carol and Humberto helped produce the collection. Maybe after you've spent some money buying up her high-waisted houndstooth shorts, you can drop an extra $20 on my book, Dear Diary. Chloë wrote the intro. But first things first…fashion, that is.
Lesley Arfin: Everyone thinks you're a style genius. What was one of your favorite outfits in high school?
Chloë Sevigny: Gosh, that's tough. Lets say freshmen year since that's what I was drawing on for the collection. It would have been 1989. [I wore] my steel-toe wingtip Doc Martens with thigh-high black tights, and a white smock dress I bought at an outdoor flea market in Manhattan. I had this crazy dragon patch that I sewed to the breast part. I'd wear that with an Alice band and an oversized jean jacket, and maybe a black mock turtleneck if it was cold.
LA: What's the one article of clothing you absolutely can't live without?
CS: A gray cardigan. I like the oversized men's styles, slightly Mr. Rogers, preferably long enough to cover my ass, and with pockets I can shove my hands into when I get nervous in social situations, which is a constant. My close friend Bryce always says, 'What a surprise, you're wearing the ubiquitous cardigan.' I actually have seven.
LA: Is there anything you've coveted for a long time, fashion-wise, that you finally decided to splurge on?
CS: I've always been a frugal yank. Recently, though, I've decided to treat myself to the ultimate fashion splurge, an alligator handbag. I've been researching them and found a company in Texas called Alexander Knight who makes custom order bags with no hardware or labels, you can choose everything right down to the lining, then have your initials embossed or your name engraved on a silver plate and attached to the inside. Nice!
LA: Who are some of your fashion icons?
CS: Women who are outrageous yet effortless. Liz Goldwyn, Cecilia Dean, Angelica Houston, Marlene Dietrich, Debbie Harry, Poison Ivy, Slim Keith, Patti Smith—women who own their looks and themselves. Never looking uncomfortable in your outfit, or skin for that matter is a must.
LA: What is your favorite thing in your new line, Chloë Sevigny for Opening Ceremony?
CS: Probably the shoes. An ankle wedge can go so far—it's limitless.
Photograph by Pasha Antonov, via wwd.com
LA: Who is your ideal customer?
CS: I hope there is something in the line that appeals to any and every kind of girl. Of course, a ripped-tight-wearing girl such as yourself would always hold more of an appeal to my eye.
LA: What music inspired your line?
CS: The Cramps, Johnny Thunders and Patti Palladin, Lizzie Mercier, The Slits, The Shangri La's.
LA: What movie character has the best style?
CS: Little Orphan Annie!!!!!! Christiane F., any character in a Fassbinber movie. Linda Manns in Out of the Blue, Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink, Ally Sheedy in The Breakfast Club, and Sally Bowles from Cabaret.
LA: What are some of your favorite clothing stores right now?
CS: I still mostly shop second hand. Tokyo 7 is always very reliable when in a bind. And I always like Resurrection, Cherry, Exquisite Costume, and Atomic Passion. As far as new retailers, I'd say Opening Ceremony and Barneys.
LA: If you had a pet kitten, what would you name it?
CS: Sabbath after the little girl in Flannery O'Conner's Wiseblood.
Her enigmatic dress code has spawned a new namesake line with Opening Ceremony. Author and style soulmate Lesley Arfin got the inside story.

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