Chloë Sevigny Talks ‘Kids’, ‘Feud’ & Her Life in Parties

In Ryan Murphy’s FX series, Feud: Capote vs. the Swans, Chloë Sevigny transforms into C.Z. Guest, the WASP doyenne whose party photos once dominated W’s pages. The role is both a departure from and a natural continuation of ­Sevigny’s career, which has been defined by films that have chronicled New York’s social scenes through the decades: 1980s excess in American Psycho and The Last Days of Disco, ’90s hedonistic nihilism in Kids and Party Monster, and modern Brooklyn in Golden Exits. Sevigny herself has been a New York fixture and eternal It girl ever since she was a teenager in Darien, Connecticut, and took the train into Manhattan after school. Her work, regularly in the service of some of the world’s most fearless auteurs, has taken her across the globe to numerous film festivals, awards shows, and premieres, a milieu Sevigny admits she has only recently begun to feel confident in. But she uses fashion as a tool to slip into character. “I know that these moments get so much coverage, and these photos will last forever,” she says. “I try to go for a more timeless look than I would in my real life. I’m often playing the part of the actress in these moments.”

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Neither Sevigny nor Rosario Dawson had any film credits when they were cast in Larry Clark’s 1995 cult classic, Kids. Seven years later, they were guests of honor at a Versace Couture party at the Ritz Paris. “I always say how obviously blessed we both were to have had that experience and for Kids to have launched our careers,” says Sevigny. As for her dress, she remembers it well. “Emily Ratajkowski wore the same one recently. I thought it was kind of funny to see her in pictures compared to how I wear it here.”

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After her debut in Kids, Sevigny’s next film was Trees Lounge, written and directed by Steve Buscemi. “I couldn’t believe that this was going to be my second step,” she says. “Everything was working in the way that I wanted it to work.” Her date for the film’s premiere party was Harmony Korine, her boyfriend at the time. “He was very performative when he was younger and liked to pull faces in photos.”

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“I was wearing a lot of Michael Kors for Celine back in those days. That was the whole Boys Don’t Cry run, where I was trying to do this old-school Hollywood look.” Sevigny was nominated for an Academy Award and took home an Independent Spirit Award for her work in the 1999 film. “My grandmother had loved paisley, so I wore paisley. Winning was great. I’m so proud of that film.”

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Alexander McQueen asked Sevigny to present him with an award at a 1998 Fashion Group International event. “Nobody does it better, except maybe John Galliano,” she says. “I rewore that dress for the Met Gala in 2011 when they honored McQueen. He made it for me, and so it has real sentimental value.”

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Angelina Jolie may have beat Sevigny at the Oscars in 2000, but when they ran into each other at the Vanity Fair Oscars party the next year, it was nothing but love. “I remember her in this moment saying, ‘How do you do this so well?’ meaning dress the part,” recalls Sevigny, who was clad in Chanel Couture. “She’s like, ‘I always struggle with it.’ I think here I’m probably going, ‘Please. Look at you!’”

Before Sevigny became an actor, she cut her teeth in New York’s underground scene, a world she’d revisit in the 2003 film Party Monster, in which she plays Gitsie, the sidekick of notorious club promoter Michael Alig. “I knew all the characters. I knew Alig, and I knew Angel, who he killed, and I knew all these people. Playing this character in the movie was very meta, before people talked about ‘meta’ being a thing.” Here, she attends an event for the film with costar Macaulay Culkin (left) and writer James St. James, whom she’s known since she was 17.

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“It was so great to get to know Christian Bale,” says Sevigny of her American Psycho costar, seen with her here at the 2000 Berlin Film Festival. “On set he had been very Method-y, and I remember just thinking, Wow, this is a whole other person, getting to meet somebody new. He was really playful and warm, so that was kind of a relief.”

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Sevigny got to know Sofia Coppola (right) and Zoe Cassavetes (center) through Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon and her X-girl codesigner, Daisy von Furth. (Sevigny was a face of the ’90s clothing line.) “These kids were more my peers, or at least they felt more like that then,” says Sevigny. “We were all figuring out how to navigate our careers. They just happened to be Hollywood royalty.” The trio held court here in 2003 at an afterparty for Jonas Åkerlund’s film Spun.

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Sevigny remembers the 2015 LACMA Art + Film Gala for a few reasons: It was the night she met her friend Hari Nef, the first night she wore Alessandro Michele’s designs for Gucci, and the first night she was totally confident at a Hollywood event. “I remember feeling a sense of ownership in Hollywood, which had eluded me until around this period, where I felt that I could move through the room with more confidence,” she says. “I think that the dress actually helped with that. It’s a testament to the power of clothing.”

“She’s, as the kids say, my ride or die,” says Sevigny of Natasha Lyonne. “I always feel safer when we’re in the same city, knowing I have proximity to her. I love navigating parties with her because she has such a great sense of humor.” The pair met in the late 1990s and have been inseparable ever since. “We have so much in common: our attitudes toward the business, our musical interests, a similar kind of punk aesthetic, and a love of old movies.” Above: The friends in 2000.

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Sevigny and Lyonne in 2018.

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Sevigny and Nicole Kidman shot Dogville together in Trollhättan, Sweden. “We were all very isolated,” says Sevigny. “But Nicole would throw these themed parties. She was so generous, and she’d bring in a chef to do a Mexican night and then a night with caviar and oysters.” Sevigny was still in awe of Kidman when they reunited at an Oscars bash in L.A. in 2002 (above). She has a distinct memory from that night: “I ran into Tom Ford at this party. He was like, ‘Where did your boobs come from?’ I was like, ‘I’ve always had these boobs. Maybe I hid them well before.’ ”

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“Who isn’t obsessed with Salma Hayek? She’s the hottest person alive and a great talent,” says Sevigny. “This photo encapsulates how I feel about her.” The duo are shown here in 2016 at a Cannes event, before they would work together on Mike White’s Beatriz at Dinner.

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Sevigny turned the premiere party for Feud into a family affair. “My mom and aunt were dancing all night. They got home at 2 a.m. I was like, ‘You’re 83 years old!’ ” she says. “I dragged every movie star over to meet them.” Above: on the dance floor with costar Naomi Watts.

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Sevigny approves of Timothée Chalamet’s efforts to bring more outré men’s fashion to the red carpet. “He looked like a rock star, and he kind of is a rock star,” Sevigny says of her Bones and All costar’s Haider Ackermann jumpsuit at the film’s premiere, in Venice. “Not many young actors could pull this off, and I love how adventurous he is. The more of his flesh I can see, the better.”

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“I always admired Dita’s artistry and the way she presents herself to the world. I think it’s so rare that people make that much effort,” says Sevigny of the burlesque performer Dita Von Teese. Here, the pair pose at a Cannes event in 2019.

“I have been obsessed with Tilda Swinton since Orlando. I think this is one of the first times we met, and she was very gracious at this Hugo Boss party in Berlin in 2011,” says Sevigny. “I am always in awe of what an incredible creature she is.” They ended up working together eight years later in Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die, which kicked off Cannes in 2019. “We opened the festival with a comedy, which is always tricky. I’m not sure it played so well, but it was great to be there.”

“The first time I met Michael Stipe, in Hollywood, we went out and had a big night. I was staying at the Chateau Marmont, and the next morning there was a knock on the door, and he had sent me room service coffee and croissants,” says Sevigny of her friend. “I was like, That is a real class act—an elegant gesture that not a lot of people take the time to do these days.”

Courtesy of Chloë Sevigny.

“There was a super blood moon,” says Sevigny of the day she married the gallery director Siniša Mačković, in 2022. “It was sunny, then rainy, then sunny again, then this full moon. All my friends were there, and there was dancing. I just remember the joy and the dancing.” Sevigny says she had dreamed of her wedding day since she was a girl. “I got married in the church that I always wanted to get married in and had a reception where I always wanted to have it. I had no idea what I would wear, so I wore three outfits.”

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