Style

Chloe Sevigny Makes Really Cute Clothes

Here, a hard-hitting account! PLUS: juicy gossip about skaters from 15 years ago!

Chloe Sevigny for Opening Ceremony is the perfect embodiment of every quality that makes her the girl crush to end all girl crushes—cool but not bored, sweet but not sugarily so. It was her personal style and way of rocking it that got her noticed in the first place so it’s amazing she doesn’t just design a bunch of weird-but-awesome stuff that only she could pull off. Actually, two days after her resort 2012 collection hit stores, one style of a black leather dress with a detachable zipper skirt was already sold out. She’s a girl’s girl, this one! Right now I am actually working on a pitch for Lifetime, a movie about female bonding where a bunch of gals walk around in their matching Chloe Sevs dresses. I haven’t really figured out where the conflict would be yet. I mean, why would you want to ruin such a beautiful thing?

The whole collection had a good teen-angst vibe—varsity jackets but not without hair carelessly hanging in front of the face and whatnot—but she could probably explain it all better herself. Determined to get the REAL STORY behind all those cute eyelet cut-outs, I ventured out to the Opening Ceremony store in New York City last Saturday. Here, a hard-hitting account! PLUS: juicy gossip about skateboarders from over 15 years ago! Also, she has the best laugh in the world.

TAVI: OK, so, welcome to Chloe for Opening Ceremony! Tell us a little bit about your inspiration.

CHLOE: It came from lots of different places. I’m kind of like a hodgepodge, I like to mix all different things. Obviously there was the Vision Street Wear stuff, coming from boys that I knew growing up that were kinda badass—growing up in the suburbs, you can always identify the other troubled kids by the way they dress. Vision was very much that—you knew if they had Vision shoes on, they had something interesting going on inside their little brains.

Photo by Greg Kessler

Were you a troubled kid?

[Laughs] I was very troubled, yes. Me and my brother both—we were troubled and troublemakers. But I kind of wanted to mix that stuff with some sort of finer pieces: all of the eyelet white cotton, and the leather laser-cut pieces.

I was told that everything’s either leather or cotton, like good girl/bad girl?

Right. Most of the pieces will come either in leather or in the white. So yes, it’s very much that angel or devil on my shoulder. You can go either way.

Photos by Greg Kessler

And there are like handcuffs and a gartery thing goin’ on.

There’s a little bit of an S&M thing, which I guess was last season, not that I ever pay attention to that. To me that S&M influence is kind of a timeless thing. That leather-daddy look is almost like a classic look now.

Photo by Greg Kessler

And you did swimwear for the first time.

I did. A lot of the time Humberto [Leon, of Opening Ceremony] convinces me to do stuff that I’m not really even that excited about. He’s like, “Oh, you should do swimwear! We’re doing swimwear now!” And then it’s like, this was supposed to be red, and it’s obviously orange. A lot of the time it can be a little frustrating the way things don’t turn out the way you exactly want them to. Swimwear fabric is so difficult. I don’t know if you wear swimsuits.

I don’t swim! That’s like athletic.

[Laughs] Even buying a swimsuit is super difficult. And then making one is even harder. So, yeah, this was kind of an Humberto thing. [The line] is a collaboration between him and I, and a lot of the time he comes up with different ideas. We bounce ideas off each other. And of course they want to have a bigger line, because the bigger the line, the more they sell. It is a business—which I like to know nothing about. Humberto’s always trying to push me to do more and more product, where I would like to less and less so I can have everything really perfect. And then something like the swimsuits happen, where it’s not exactly something that I think is the perfect swimsuit. So sometimes it’s a little frustrating in that way. But I guess I should stay positive. [Laughs]

Oh, yeah! [In fake journalism voice] “Chloe was seven minutes late, and then she just trash-talked…” Wanna talk about these sunglasses?

Photo by Greg Kessler

Yeah, we can talk about sunglasses, and accessories. Only a little bit of the stuff is here so far. Most of the sneakers, as you can see—these are all reissues of old classic Vision Streetwear sneakers. [One of them is] leopard, which is a favorite that I always go back to. Every year, almost, we’ve done a leopard thing. Sweater dresses, shoes—every year we infuse leopard somewhere. Actually, growing up, I only thought crazy people wore animal print. Until a few years ago, I never wore animal print. I hated animal print. And now it’s a mainstay.


Photo by Greg Kessler

What changed?


I don’t know! I think it was the first collection, when we decided to do shoes. Maybe it was a pin-up thing, or I liked the way leopard clashed with the floral. And then the sunglasses…these are kind of similar to a style that I found in China, which I think were some kind of weird government-issue thing. We kind of scour the earth for inspiration. I went to China with Carol [Lim] and Humberto and the whole Opening Ceremony team. We went to Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai.

Wow. How was that?


Amazing. Beijing was my favorite. Shanghai is very European-feeling, and Hong Kong is just like very techy, but Beijing seemed the most unlike anywhere I’d ever been before. It’s very flat and wide; you can feel the really old China influence. We went to the Great Wall of China, and when we were walking on it, it was a really warm sunny day, and then we got to the top and all of a sudden this crazy windstorm happened. It was spring, and all of these cherry-blossom petals were swirling around in the wind. And then all of a sudden it started snowing!

That’s so apocalyptic.

It was pretty magical.

So this is gonna be in our December issue, whose theme is Home. It sounds like Vision Street Wear was kind of part of your growing up in the suburbs. What else was home for you?

Well for me it was very much my bedroom. I was really into my bedroom. From when I was a really small girl on, I would pick every fabric, every color on the walls, and I was always redecorating. Like once every couple of months I would redecorate my room. I had a full wall that was all collage—the entire wall—when I was in junior high. And then it would kind of morph with me as I was growing. My room was a real way of expressing myself. It was like a little nest that I could settle into. And it was on the first floor, so…[laughs] we had a one-story house, so it was easy to hop out the window and sneak out at night. But I don’t know if we should promote that!

Well, now we’re working on January, and the theme’s Up All Night, and we have a thing on sneaking out.

Do you?

Yeah.

I once came home and my mom was lying in my bed.

That’s so scary!

Yeah. It was the worst. But [sneaking out] was very easy. Because it was a one-story house—like a ranch house—you could just hop out the window. And my parents’ bedroom was to the left, so I would go to the right, and have to go all the way around, and I was afraid they would hear me even walking through the yard, so I’d go through neighbors’ yards. And we’d, like, meet up at the church, you know, by the big tree. It was nothing untoward—we were just French kissing, or doing innocent things. We weren’t even drinking. It was the thrill of it.

What kind of stuff was in your wall collage?

It depended on the year. I would photograph it, too. So I have a lot of old pictures of, you know, posters and, you know, this boy that rode for Blind Skateboards, and I’d have his ads up. Mark Gonzales, who rode for Vision Skateboards, left, and the skaters were really upset with the way that Vision were running the brand and marketing them, so Mark and another guy started Blind.

Ooh! Hot skate gossip from the ’90s!

[Laughs] Yeah, Jason Lee used to ride on Blind, and I was really into him. I had his photo on my wall. Kim, from Sonic Youth—I had her picture. Sebadoh posters. I had different things my brother had drawn in art class, too.

That’s sweet.

Yes. Current high school art, I had a lot of that up—things that I had done and different friends had done. I was really into celebrating my friends’ drawings.

Have you kept any of that stuff?


I’ve kept everything. I have everything that’s ever been on my wall from junior high through this year. Even when I go in different movies, I notice I’ll collect certain things, and put certain things on the wall or in my trailer, and then I’ll keep them all, like, per year, so I can remember what I was going through or what I was into that year.

Oh my god!

Yeah, I’m a little bit of a hoarder.

One day you’ll have to put it all in a book or something. Is there anything you would tell a teenage version of yourself, if you could?

Um…oh god, I hate this question.

Oh. Oops!

Well, because I always have the same answers!

It is kind of a stock teen-magazine question.

I wish I had focused on school more. I was really not into academics. That was part of how I rebelled. And I think that if I had stuck with it, and then gone on to college—I started working right after high school—I think I probably would be a more confident person right now. Which is a boring kind of thing your mother would say to you! [Laughs] But it’s honest. That is really how I feel. And I wish that my parents had been harder on me about it. ’cause after my brother they didn’t know what to do, so they kind of like let me do whatever. Which is fine—I was into my own things, you know, and wrote papers about the Lower East Side and immigrants in New York and the Nation of Islam, and weird things like that. But I wish I had paid more attention and focused more on school. And I wish that I had told myself…yeah, the whole “it gets better” thing. Because it’s still hard for me to go back to the town where I grew up. I just get really despondent when I get there. I think it’s all the feelings of growing up there—it’s still hard to be there.

Was it a small town?

It was a pretty small town. There were less than 500 kids at my school. We went to other towns looking for kids, because our school was pretty tiny, for a public high school. I would go to the surrounding towns—Greenwich, New Canaan, Westport—and find the other kids. All the weirdos. And then I would of course come into Manhattan, and I started working at Sassy, and, you know, hanging out in Washington Square, and met lots of kids here, and that opened up a whole other thing for me.

Has it ever felt weird kind of starting as a “weirdo,” and then being celebrated for that and suddenly being on the other side of culture? Like, going from an outsider to an insider, in a way?

But I don’t feel like an insider. I mean I am a bit, I guess, in fashion—I feel like I was always embraced by fashion. Fashion embraces the weirdos. They’re into that. They’re into, you know, taking anybody’s idea [laughs] and running with it, or influence, you know? There are always young people that people in fashion are interested in. You know, youth and vitality and energy—it brings something different. But I never felt like an insider in Hollywood in any way, shape, or form. I feel like a lot of the Hollywood kids are also kind of weirdos in their own way. They were probably theater nerds, you know, in high school. But I still don’t feel like part of the Hollywood clique, and that’s OK. You know, I live in New York, and I don’t really hang out with a lot of actors. It’s not really my world. But I do feel a lot of the perks of being a celebrity, like getting a table and stupid shit like that. [Laughs] It’s just the way it is. ♦

31 Comments

  • posh_lacrosse December 6th, 2011 3:12 PM

    this is so awesome. i love her collection, because it is so much like my own style.

  • Izzy December 6th, 2011 3:19 PM

    This is the only interveiw that I’ve read the entirety of, and this was UH-MA-ZING. Those clothes are wicked!

    • Fortune_Goddess December 6th, 2011 4:46 PM

      Aww. Not that it isn’t good that you like it, but you should totally read the entire articles! They are truly great.

  • honeypower December 6th, 2011 3:32 PM

    Her clothes are always fun to look at, like she kind of makes everything out of boredom and this is definitely her creative outlet, so she goes all the way!

  • Eleanor December 6th, 2011 3:51 PM

    gosh everything that chloe likes and makes is just amazing. i can’t really say more than that. such a great interview!

  • Motherfunker December 6th, 2011 3:56 PM

    She is beyond cool.

  • Hunter December 6th, 2011 4:04 PM

    imma marry chloe

  • tinytractor December 6th, 2011 4:12 PM

    I got super excited because I’m heading to NYC at the end of the month, then I saw the prices… </3

  • Leerjet December 6th, 2011 4:38 PM

    I thought that because she’s a celeb, she would be all into herself and superficial but I was pleasantly surprised that she sounds very down-to-earth and very similar to me and my friends!

  • Fortune_Goddess December 6th, 2011 4:44 PM

    This is really great! It’s nice to see some stuff under STYLE that isn’t just different outfits. I love to see like… fashion designers! :-D

  • Carneece December 6th, 2011 5:05 PM

    I love how I’m feeling instantly bonded with Chloe just because of her mysterious conversion to animal print. I’ve hated it for years and years, and just this fall I somehow fell really hard for leopard. My Christmas list reads:
    1. Blue’s Clues memorabilia
    2. X-files crap
    3. Leopard EVERYTHING.

    Not that you guys would understand because ME AND CHLOE ARE SECRETLY BEST FRIENDS

    • Fortune_Goddess December 6th, 2011 6:19 PM

      Really? I mean… Like seriously? (And yes, if you said “the word gullible is written on the ceiling” i would look up.)

      • Carneece December 6th, 2011 9:13 PM

        Well, our friendship is currently a secret to Chloe, but my delusions suit me just fine. :)

  • darksideoftherainbow December 6th, 2011 5:30 PM

    someone calling herself darksideoftherainbow needs those vision sneakers…

  • Charlotte December 6th, 2011 6:01 PM

    oh man, this is so cool with all the skate nostalgia/memorabilia….would have never guessed she would be so into it.

  • tuesday December 6th, 2011 6:02 PM

    I ADORE CHLOE SEVIGNY. her clothes are so awesome, such a great interview too. and her laugh! the best.

  • Chl0e-Ruthless December 6th, 2011 6:13 PM

    the clothes are amazing and so is her name ;)

  • busterlulu December 6th, 2011 6:16 PM

    Chlöe is very inspiring…i live about 15 minutes from where she grew up, and i understand where she is coming from…there comes a time when your just like ‘it sucks to be a teenager in this town!’ and you just want to run away.

  • FashionHauties December 6th, 2011 6:39 PM

    I love Chloë’s designs. They are so tomboy-sheek, and they kind of have a city vibe. The nice thing is they aren’t frumpy, ugly cargo camo-print trousers. I wish I could burn those. But anyways, this stuff is great and I would totally wear it! :) http://fashionhauties.blogspot.com/2011/11/vintage-on-way.html?m=1

  • MichyMich December 6th, 2011 8:20 PM

    Personally, I feel that most celebrity “designers” don’t take it seriously and do it only to attract more publicity (ahem, ahem, Kim Kardashian – I am looking at you). However, only few celebrities actually take it seriously like Mary-Kate and Ashley/Nicole Richie. When I read this interview, I have more respect for Chloe Sevigny. She is a true visionary who actually cares about her own designs, which is mostly inspired by nostalgia for the early ’90s. I also adore her clothing line for OC, which is so quirky yet beautiful in its own way. I can totally relate to her since I feel that my sense of style is “too dressy/experimental” for my hometown.

    Now, I wish that I can buy the dresses and the skirts and just about everything!

  • Mollie December 6th, 2011 10:08 PM

    TODAY DAVID SEDARIS WAS LATE TO A READING I WAS ATTENDING BECAUSE HE WAS ON THE PHONE WITH TAVI!

    I feel so…connected or something.

    Tavi: He said you were “enchanting”.

    • Tavi December 6th, 2011 11:56 PM

      that’s my fault! i fell asleep before i had to interview him and woke up and realized i was 20 minutes late and had no questions! i felt terrible and i probably sounded like an idiot! he of course helped by being very talkative and very funny. he must have very high tolerance for people if he called me enchanting. *blushes*

      how was it? i have never been to one of his readings!

  • December 6th, 2011 11:36 PM

    Great interview! And it was nice being able to look at images that match what’s being said :-)

    And I love how you handled the situation when Chloe didn’t really like one of your questions <3

  • PrincessKadoodle December 7th, 2011 1:37 PM

    A really great interview! These are fabulous clothes, and I personally love the eyelet full skirt you can see if you visit Chloe’s collection on the Opening Ceremony website. It’s too bad most of the items would be prohibitively expensive for the majority of readers, especially in this economy. Be inspired by this collection, but save your money for college, books, music lessons and to fund your future bohemian lifestyle, like I did! A cautionary tale… freedom comes from financial autonomy, not from a $425 eyelet skirt!

  • Mollie December 7th, 2011 6:56 PM

    @Tavi David Sedaris was great! the best parts were when he made himself laugh.

    he read a lot from his diary rather than just from his books and charged people $1 if they said the word “awesome” in front of him. he drew (artistically good) pictures in books while he signed. and one-on-one, he was pretty charming!

    • Tavi December 7th, 2011 7:00 PM

      I’m so glad to hear! he was AAAWWEEESOOMMMEE on the phone. i’m excited for you all to read it.

  • laurenblossom December 10th, 2011 5:49 AM

    *longingful sigh*

    Her clothes are amazing. The interview was wonderfully personal and i feel like i got an insight into her actual life rather than just her designs. Lovely.

  • Gretchyn December 10th, 2011 5:24 PM

    Is there any way for me to like, purchase her clothes? Or are they too expensive for ~normal teens~~?

  • rubyhobbit December 29th, 2011 4:48 AM

    Love the style, I just hope its not as expensive like NastyGal haha. Has anyone seen her interview with David Letterman? (same laugh since 1998)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGLmfudFTus

  • rubyhobbit December 29th, 2011 5:28 AM

    ok nvm I read the whole article and FML.

  • preachypreach January 3rd, 2012 9:39 AM

    chloe’s clothes are always so amazing <3