You Can Buy Chloë Sevigny’s Clothes—But Can You Buy Her Cool?
A swarm of well-dressed devotees descended upon 676 Broadway in SoHo this past Sunday, Mother’s Day. Shortly before the event began at noon, the line of fans-cum-shoppers wrapped around the building twice, forming a human square within a human square which had been growing since the earliest shoppers arrived at 6 a.m.. Strands of fizzy, excited conversation filled the air and skin glistened from standing under the sun all morning. “What’s going on here?” a curious passerby would ask occasionally. “Chloë Sevigny,” someone would answer, looking up from whatever book they were reading, or pausing a chat amongst friends. Then, “She’s selling her clothes.”
In line, 30-year-old Quinn Wilson passed the time by leaning against a scaffolding structure and reading The White Album by Joan Didion. (“I’m way late,” Wilson said of reading the celebrated author for the first time.) Her friend had ventured off to purchase water from a nearby store because “I’m dehydrated as hell,” Wilson said. “I’ve never done anything like this before. I’ve never waited in line. Even for a sample sale.” When asked how much she planned to spend once inside, Wilson rolled her eyes and laughed. “Oh honey, I have an American Express card. So we don’t know. The limit does not exist. And it’s not because I’m necessarily a fan-girl. But I like good shit. And she has taste.”
Taste has been a defining characteristic of Chloë Sevigny’s persona on and off the screen. For over three decades now, the actor has been admired and praised for the cult-beloved films she’s starred in but also, overwhelmingly, for what she’s worn: micro mini skirts, pinafores, tiger-print tights, a Versace dress in the ’90s that Emily Ratajkowski reprised earlier this month, and many combinations that would look off-kilter on almost anyone else.
Sevigny has been called an “It girl” ad nauseam over the years, including in a 1994 New Yorker profile and, most recently, in an exhaustive New York magazine tribute to such celebrities through the ages. Sevigny clarified on Instagram recently that she doesn’t identify with the title, but it is still a meaningful one. One earned not merely through showing up to cool places or doing cool things, but, more amorphously, through just being cool. To many in the line— which skewed, from a casual visual survey, thirty and under, and across multiple genders and races—a chance to shop Sevigny’s closet was an opportunity to capture some of that je ne sais quoi.
“Even if I’m not going to get a piece, I feel like this is such a great scene to be at,” Stella Coulter, a twenty-something who works in fashion, said. “Even my mom is obsessed with Chloë Sevigny. She’s multigenerational.”
Inside, shoppers, who were let in a few at a time, zipped and dashed around. There was a lot to browse at the event, billed as “The Sale of the Century” and organized by former Vogue staffer Liana Satenstein. On hand were vintage clothes sourced directly from Sevigny’s closet and a storage unit she keeps in Connecticut, and pieces from Vogue contributing editor Lynn Yaeger, editor Mickey Boardman, Amazon’s head of fashion direction Sally Singer, and the brand The Academy. The room rang with the squeak of hangers sliding across metal clothing racks.
Sevigny sat on a couch, unguarded, and watched people rifle through her stuff. She signed books, chatted with admirers, and occasionally offered golden nuggets of backstory to shoppers. On her way out, Charlotte Zaininger, who works in urban development, recounted how she mulled over a $300 fur-lined coat from the Parisian label Chloé (no relation), when Sevigny suddenly popped up and said, “It’s reversible!” It convinced Zaininger to make the purchase. At another point, Sevigny told another shopper, who nabbed a brandless sweater, “Oh this is the first sweater that I wore when I started flirting with my husband.”
“Every item I see go by, I remember what, when, where, and why I wore it,” Sevigny, dressed in an oversized black dress and flip-flops, told Vogue. “I have a lot of memories with these pieces,” she said. The collection of items on sale extended all the way back to “stuff I’ve been holding on since high school.” So, after some contemplation, she decided to clear out “over 90 percent” of the clothes she had in storage. “I’m just at a point in my life where I’m like, ‘It’s time to let go!’”
“I think it’s fun for people to see the source of the clothes,” Satenstein, who has a closet cleaning business and occasionally organizes sales, said. She originally connected with Sevigny for a Vogue profile last year, and the two bonded over their love of secondhand fashion. “I invited her to this other sale that I did with Lynn [Yeager] and Sally [Singer], and then it kind of spurred this conversation about closet cleansing. It spawned into a whole thing of its own.” Fast-forward six months and Satenstein stood amongst the vintage clothes she carefully helped Sevigny shift through and decide to part ways with. “There’s a lot of imagination that comes with these clothes that just can’t be translated on a third-party resale platform,” Satenstein said.
Sevigny’s eclectic, experimental style came through on the clothing racks. Some standout selects included archived pieces from Sevigny’s collaborations with Opening Ceremony over the years, a Supreme patchwork coat, a $1,100 suede Hermès trench, a metallic full-length evening gown, a $100 peach-and-orange crochet bucket hat, a Vivienne Westwood diaper bag, a Chanel chess set, and a cut-out Telfar sweater vest.
Outside, 22-year-old Claire Zehnith, who works at an art gallery, showed off a $675 Miu Miu dress, which featured colorful swatches. “Honestly, I plan on wearing it everywhere,” she said. “I work at an art gallery so I’m probably gonna wear it to an opening. And then I also thought I could throw a T-shirt over it and wear it as a skirt.” Her friend Sita Dandiker, who spent $1,000 inside, said one of her favorite purchases was a pair of leather shorts. “For some reason, they happened to fit me perfectly and I was like this is fate.”
Of course, not every object sparked passionate personal memories from Sevigny. She was letting them go after all. When presented with a sample bedazzled Chanel tee—going for $100, and seemingly commemorating some type of branded event in Monaco—the star tilted her head and thought for a second.
“All I can say is I definitely didn’t go to that,” she said with a laugh. Which feels like the kind of cool money can’t buy.
Originally Appeared on Vogue