Chloe Sevigny Finds Middle Age ‘Tricky’ But Loves A Scent Associated With Grandmothers

New York Times
Chloe Sevigny at a cocktail party for her fragrance, Little Flower, made by indie perfumer Regime des Fleurs. Photo / New York Times.

New York’s eternal “it” girl still finds time to stay relevant, even on the cusp of 50. This month, she celebrates the legacy of her cult fragrance Regime des Fleurs Little Flower.

Before the air around Chloe Sevigny can be spritzed with her rose-scented perfume, it must first be cleared.

Sevigny gasped when she learned that some people interpreted a remark she recently made on Instagram as passive-aggressive. “Always nice to be included,” she had written beneath a Variety magazine cover she shared with Kim Kardashian.

They had been paired for an “actors on actors” conversation, which Variety released online on Wednesday. “Because I just come off as snarky?” Sevigny laughed. “The inside scoop is I wasn’t supposed to be there.”

She had replaced another actress who was sick with Covid. And she was grateful to be included. “I would like to have bigger parts in bigger movies,” said Sevigny, who wants to be perceived as a “character actor”. This year she starred as midcentury socialite C.Z. Guest on Feud: Capote Vs. The Swans, a series on FX and Hulu.

She just finished filming another series, playing Kitty Menendez, who was killed by her sons in 1989. The day after our interview, she was set to fly to San Francisco for rehearsals on a new Luca Guadagnino film, co-starring Julia Roberts and Ayo Edebiri. When we met, Sevigny, 49, was sitting in front of a mirror and having her hair wrapped into a tight bun.

She wore a striped robe and gem-encrusted Crocs by Simone Rocha. She was preparing for a cocktail party being thrown that evening on the roof of Fouquet’s New York for her fragrance, Little Flower, made by indie perfumer Regime des Fleurs. Sevigny was living in a sparsely decorated sublet, scattered with her 4-year-old son’s toys, while the family’s apartment was being expanded.

She and her husband, gallerist Sinisa Mackovic, had purchased the unit next door from an older couple torn between having more space in the country and more access to care in the city, Sevigny said. The couple’s dilemma made her wonder what she would do at their age.

Sevigny has been trying to embrace middle age — because that is what people do now — but finds it difficult.

“I think ageing is really one of the worst things of all time,” she said. “Maybe it’s easier when you’re over the hump and just an elegant older lady. Middle age is really tricky.”

Chloe Sevigny made a cameo this year in Charli XCX's music video 360.
Chloe Sevigny made a cameo this year in Charli XCX's music video 360.

Sevigny will turn 50 in November. Yet for most of her life, she has been associated with what is now and next in New York City, having been declared a swaggering “it girl” at 19. Last month, pop star Charli XCX gathered a coterie of “it girls” — models, actors, internet personalities, Julia Fox — for the video for her song 360.

At the end of the video, Sevigny emerges from a convertible, takes a drag from a cigarette and poses with a group of them, who were mostly about 20 years younger than her. “I was told everyone was doing bratty versions of themselves,” she said. “I was just trying not to look 1000 years old.”

And here is the narrative difficulty with Sevigny’s promotion of a rose fragrance: The scent is often associated with grandmothers.

“We like to use the word ‘fresh’,” said Sevigny, who wore rose fragrances by Comme des Garcons and Hermes for years before developing her own with her friend Alia Raza, the Regime des Fleurs founder, in 2019.

“It’s not a moneymaker for me in any way. But I love Alia. I love these both female-owned businesses,” she said, referring to Moda Operandi, the online retailer that hosted the party. Moda Operandi began selling Little Flower in 2023 and said the perfume is its bestselling fragrance.

Years ago, Sevigny went to a baby shower for Moda Operandi co-founder Lauren Santo Domingo and brought home one of the live canaries that decorated the space. Santo Domingo remembers the bird. She also remembers being a teenager, commuting into New York City from Greenwich, Connecticut, on the same train as Sevigny, watching for which train car Sevigny would board at Darien, her home station.

“I don’t think she knows I was stalking her,” said Santo Domingo, whose company had stocked the rooftop terrace with floral cocktails, a whimsical purple cake (the baker also made the cake for Sevigny’s wedding, which was dissected in minutiae) and guests including actress Natasha Lyonne, designer Batsheva Hay and a host of Red Scare podcast, Anna Khachiyan.

“I wish I could just go to every party and not have my picture taken,” Sevigny had said that afternoon while getting dressed. She wore a Prada skirt and cape, accessorising with slime-coloured heels and peach-coloured sunglasses. “But this is not the one.”

Lately, she feels more visible than ever, particularly with the demands of modern promotional tours. The internet may have loved it when Sevigny went on a rant about Los Angeles in a February video for Elle.

But she takes beta blockers to calm herself down before going on late-night TV.

“I feel so uncomfortable being myself on camera,” she said. And you know who always seems comfortable being herself on camera?

“‘You’re so good at being you,’” Sevigny said she told Kardashian during their Variety conversation, which the internet has already investigated for any tinge of shade.

“Plenty of movie stars just play themselves over and over and over again.”

This article originally appeared in the New York Times.

Written by: Jessica Testa

Photographs by: Ye Fan for the New York Times


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