I never really bought into the whole Chloë Sevigny mystique. The downtown, too-cool-for-school "It" girl annointed a style icon while still in her teens. I mean, I got it, but I wasn't necessarily here for it. But a new book from Rizzoli provides the receipts, as it were, with over 25 years of photos, both public and private, documenting Sevigny's impact on fashion and pop culture — from fresh-faced preppy punk to Oscar-nominated haute couture actress.
Sevigny's style has always been effortless to the point of looking accidental. What was it about her that took her from rebellious Connecticut teen, to Sassy Magazine's intern-slash-style arbiter, to her star turn in Larry Clark's Kids?
Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon gives some insight in her foreword:
"With her sideways glance and impenetrable stare, Chloë was the reason for the reinvention of the horrible term 'it girl'...her beguiling charisma refusing to be reduced to 'sexy' or 'pretty' or 'cute' or any of the other tags the world uses to tell girls what they are.
In several ways, Sevigny defies classification — androgynous, nimbly balancing high and low, merging decades in her presentation — and she's one of the last women who can honestly own that dubious monkier of "muse." Though she's often compared to Warhol's tragic pixie Edie Sedgwick, Sevigny's image isn't tied to one artist or time. She's worked extensively with Terry Richardson and Kids' screenwriter Harmony Korine, yet she's best known for her lauded performance as Lana Tisdel, Brandon Teena's lover in the 1999 indie gem Boys Don't Cry, opposite Hilary Swank.
Ten years later, she won a Golden Globe for HBO's tale of Mormon-style monogamy, Big Love. Subsequently, Sevigny's fashion collaborations with Imitation of Christ and Opening Ceremony have long proved popular among the hip crowd, while providing endless inspiration for Drew Droege's brilliant YouTube impersonation videos.
"She's created her own terms and her own category," BFF Natasha Lyonne muses in her afterword. "She's like a silent movie all to herself, impossible not to watch."
And we've been hooked for over two decades.
Chloë Sevigny (Rizzoli), $35, available now at RizzoliUSA.com
Les Fabian Brathwaite — noted brown bunny.