Chloë Sevigny is grappling with a style dilemma familiar to many of us: am I too old for that? What separates her, however, is that for over 25 years she has been lauded as a global fashion icon. She’s made peace with that, she says on a call from her New York home, but admits, ‘I feel a certain pressure sometimes, not wanting to disappoint and I think also as I’m getting older – I’m 46 – I feel like I’m somehow losing touch a little bit, which is a little scary. I don’t want to lose my edge but I also don’t want to try and dress like a young person so I’m trying to figure out how to segue into a more sophisticated style. And I still wear white bobby socks and Mary-Janes, you know what I mean? Can I still pull that off?’ she laughs. ‘Of course, they are Margiela Tabis, but still! Should I be walking around town in white bobby socks?’
She needn’t worry. Even now, such is Chloë’s style clout that when she mentions in passing a store she loves – antiques emporium Cafiero Select in New York’s East Village (you’re welcome) – you are duty bound to urgently scribble it down and vow to visit it next time you’re there.
Anointed the ‘coolest girl in the world’ in Jay McInerney’s 1994 New Yorker profile, what’s remarkable isn’t that hyperbolic claim, but that it still resonates in 2021. Inevitably, the landscape of celebrity, of her own life and, indeed, what qualifies as cool, have changed in the intervening decades but she is still, undeniably, it. If she seems a bit bored by that word by now, that’s understandable. Chloë has also established herself as one of the most compelling actors working today, plumping for interesting roles and gaining critical acclaim (a Golden Globe for Big Love, an Oscar nomination for Boys Don’t Cry). She is that rare combination of style and substance.
Chloë’s much-loved ‘look’ is so distinctly her that trying to decode it is futile. She never appears dressed-by-committee. She defies the aloof stereotype of a Very Cool Person, she isn’t afraid of thrifting or shopping high street, either.
Case in point: her gallerist husband Siniša Mačković has been instructed to visit M&S when he’s in London to pick up five-packs of her favourite cotton briefs. ‘Whenever I go to London I always get them, they’re my favourite underwear. I’ve been wearing them since the ’90s,’ she says, adding with a laugh, ‘not the same ones!’
Her latest project is also a high-street venture. The Last Line is a short film written and directed by Fabien Baron to celebrate the launch of the new Zara Home collection. Filmed in José Marques da Silva’s Casa de Serralves in Porto, Portugal, it follows Chloë as she prepares for a role of a lifetime, practising lines in the bath and rehearsing a scene in the dining room.
Just as the best actors simultaneously own and disappear into their roles, the Zara Home pieces feel organic in the art deco masterpiece. ‘I think people that would maybe poo-poo [the collection] would be surprised when they look at it, at the quality and the style,’ she says. ‘[Zara’s] home goods are really beautiful, they looked seamless in that environment. It’s nice for people to access things that look refined and beautiful and not have to break the bank.’
When it comes to shopping for her own Manhattan apartment, Chloë is driven by instinct and function, letting the space dictate the design. She isn’t shackled by design ‘rules’ – ‘if there’s something very personable about a space, if you can sense an extension of someone’s style, if it rings as considered’. For her that means filling her house with art (she had to have a wall erected specially to accommodate one large painting). ‘I don’t know so much about homeware or furniture designers; fashion I could see anything and tell you who made it. I just know, I have a real eye for it.’
However, home has always been important to her. ‘I think my mom really instilled that home was always a safe place, a comfortable place, cosy, somewhere to retreat to.’ And since giving birth to her son her apartment has evolved. ‘Most of my homes were mine, then my boyfriends moved in. And now I have this home where I have to consider two other people all the time. My husband has particular tastes.’
One thing’s for sure, even with a kid in tow, Chloë won’t be decamping to the ’burbs anytime soon. She is ‘dug in deep’ to Manhattan life. ‘I’m happy where I am, honestly.’ And that, she knows, is so much more important than cool.
Available now at zarahome.com.