BULLETT: How old were you when you realized you were different from your peers?
CHLOE SEVIGNY: Maybe 2nd or 3rd grade? I grew up in a really wealthy community and even the young girls would flaunt their wealth and ostracize girls who didn’t come from money. There was this one girl in particular who was the queen bee at school, and she would have the other girls tie her shoes. Me and a few other girls would go up against her.
Where did you fit into the hierarchy?
My parents were a little bit like outsiders, so I became friends with outsiders too: the daughters or sons of alcoholics and kids from divorced families, which then bred rebellion. From a very young age, I knew that I wouldn’t run with the preppy pack. I knew that there was something different in store for me.
What were you good at when you were younger?
I was really exceptional at entertaining myself for hours on end. My mother never had to give me a drawing book or crayons. She could just, like, leave me alone for hours and hours and I would entertain myself by playing imaginary games with my dolls, or just sitting in the backyard for five hours at a time. Nobody had to say anything to me. I didn’t need to be around anybody.
Were you terrible at anything?
Other than mathematics? I sometimes think that’s why I’m an actor, because I can’t add and I can’t spell. [Laughs.] As a kid, I was never that great at sports. I played softball, but I really wasn’t into group activities, especially in high school. I never did anything extracurricular. I guess I was more of a loner.
What was the toughest part about being a kid?
I was really unhappy with the town I lived in. I felt really dissatisfied, like I wasn’t being exposed to the outer world, and I was really mean to my parents because of that. I think I lacked confidence, which made growing up really hard. I didn’t like the way I looked, and that was so hard.
How many times did you fall in love as a teenager?
I think I was in love once as a teenager. My first true love was [photographer] Mischa Richter, with whom I’m still close. I was very much in love with him. I was a freshman and he was a senior. We went out for a few years until he went to college in California, which was too hard to maintain. He was my first true love, and my only love in high school.
What was so special about him?
He was a total rebel, a skater, and a punk kid. He had this beautiful profile and this curly, dark hair. He looked different than me, really exotic. At first I thought he was Russian. He also had a great personality and was really nice to his friends. But he had a dark streak. He was really sensitive to me and that was something I’d never experienced with a boy. Boys didn’t really like me in junior high school, or even in high school, but he did.
What was your most prized possession in elementary school?
When I was really young, I had this doll that had belonged to my grandmother. She only had one leg—the doll, I mean—and she was my favorite thing. I dragged her everywhere with me. It was really creepy. My mom and I eventually brought her to a doll hospital, to get her a second leg, but after they fixed her I lost interest.
What about in high school?
I had a Volkswagen bus that I bought with my own money in Vermont, and I was really into it. It was perfect for weekend getaways. I was driving down the New Jersey Turnpike to a Grateful Dead show one weekend, and I blew a piston rod and the Volkswagen bus was killed forever. I called home—real high, I’m sure—and my dad had to come down and pick us up. It was awful. I think I might’ve even been on acid. It was that kind of trip.
Oh, shit! [Laughter.] What about now?
I don’t know if I have a favorite possession now. I mean, I like my apartment, but I don’t know if that counts. I have a bejeweled Estée Lauder compact—this is so embarrassing— that I got in Europe, because I get paranoid and have to check myself a lot. It sounds so egocentric, but I can’t exude confidence if I’m worried that there’s something on my face. I have to be able to check my nose and powder my face, or the other way around.
If you had to wear one piece of clothing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I’ve always fantasized about finding a ’70s Yves Saint Laurent jumpsuit or a big, comfy dress, and wearing it for the rest of my days.
What is your most embarrassing guilty pleasure?
God, I don’t really have one. I see all the movies, but I don’t think that’s really a guilty pleasure—that’s just supporting my industry. I was a huge American Idol fanatic for a while when I had a TV. I love reality TV.
What about Jersey Shore?
I think it’s really depressing that people are propping these people up as celebrities. The way they behave is embarrassing, and I think it’s kind of diminishing our culture. Most reality TV people behave like pigs, and it’s unfortunate that they get put on pedestals for doing so.
If you saw Snooki wearing something from your collection, would you approach her?
I read somewhere that Abercrombie & Fitch offered to pay The Situation not to wear their clothes—but who am I to say who should be wearing mine? I do remember someone saying that…what’s Paris Hilton’s sister called? Isn’t it Nicky or something? Anyway, she apparently talked to someone about my first collection, and was like, ‘I don’t get it.’ I was like, Good! I’m glad she doesn’t get it. It’s not for her. Besides, what’s there to get with clothes? So if Snooki wants to wear my clothes, go for it. I think she’d look a lot better in them.
She needs someone to fix her up.
She’s probably just so used to certain things, you know. I have to admit, I do find that JWoWW sexy in a really weird way. It’s like that sexy, dirty kind of girl—not dirty, but like a hot mess. We’ve all gotten too drunk and acted crazy at parties, but I don’t maintain that and I’m kind of fascinated by those girls who do.
If you could do anything without getting caught, what would it be?
You know, I always kind of adhere to my whims. If I wanted to do something, I don’t see why I wouldn’t. When I first moved to New York I saw a lot of crazy stuff and I went to a lot of crazy places, and I feel like there’s not much I didn’t get to experience. I think it’s really important to experiment, especially when you’re young, and I think a lot of what annoys me about the whole tabloid culture is that people are now so afraid of looking stupid.
What convinced you to create your own fashion line?
I’m pretty sure everybody knows that I make it all just so I can wear it!
Why is Opening Ceremony, in your opinion, the right partner for you?
Humberto Leon and Carol Lim are such good people and they run such a good company, and I believe in them. They’re my peers and they’re living the American dream, and I want to be there to support them.
What movie could this collection be designed for?
Oh, god. Pump Up the Volume? [Laughs.] I don’t know, maybe Christiane F.? It would have to be a rebellious film. Gleaming the Cube, that terrible skating film, could be a good fit.
Who are you dying to dress?
It would for sure be one of the Fanning girls. I don’t think I’d faint, but I would get excited.
What feeling best describes your new collection?
When I was backstage with the models before the show, I remember saying to them, “I want you to go out there with the attitude of someone who hasn’t seen her boyfriend in a while, and who intends to show up at his doorstep and knock his socks off.”
Photographer: James Orlando
Stylist: Evren Catlin
Makeup: Asami Matsuda, The Magnet Agency
Hair: Mischelle Navar, The Wall Group
Models: Darla Baker, Ellen Capri