Chloe Sevigny on Her Pussy Riot–Inspired Fashion Show

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Maybe it was the strain of standing in place for two and a half hours. Or that she had gathered together nearly a dozen female musicians, many of whom were her closest friends, for what felt like her very own Lower East Side Lilith Fair. Or, most likely, because she had been up late, watching the snow pile up, and anxious the day's event would be cancelled. Whatever it was, Chloe Sevigny found herself on the verge of tears at her fashion presentation yesterday afternoon. “It was emotional; I was so happy it all came together, and I was so, so over-tired,” she explained later on the telephone, as she was too exhausted to talk right after the show.

For her fifth season collaborating with Opening Ceremony, Sevigny played out a battle-of-the-bands theme at St. Mark’s Church as I.U.D., Lissy Trullie, Kim Gordon, Light Asylum, and Bleached gave alternating performances. In the past, Sevigny has looked to the nineties for inspiration, and this season she offered a sort of nineties interpretation of the sixties. It was “a little bit of a nod” to Kim Gordon and Daisy von Furth's short-lived cult fashion line X-Girl, for which Sevigny was a model and muse throughout the pre-Aughts. “A lot of my girlfriends, we all went through a period where we wanted to dress in this sixties Godard style,” she says, “and I think a lot of girls go through that.” But this was no Breathless; the models held protest signs emblazoned with the names of the bands, and playful/enigmatic slogans like flirty fishing and finger poem. “I was looking at protest images for inspiration, and you'd see all these kids fighting for extreme causes — but they'd be wearing these really cute dresses. And what with Pussy Riot and the Occupy movement, though I hate bringing politics into fashion, I thought it made sense right now,” she says.

Instead of schmoozing with the crowd — which included Tara Subkoff, Natasha Lyonne, Aziz Ansari, Ingrid Sischy and, oddly, Vanessa Hudgens — Sevigny stood with two models on the sideline, holding up a picket sign that read Time to Have Sex. “I didn't want to distract attention away from the bands,” she says. “That would have happened if I had been walking around, talking to all my friends and the press, with people taking my picture.” For the most part, Sevigny stayed perfectly still, her eyes looking straight ahead and her lips locked in a stone-faced stare. Only Jefferson Hack, her longtime friend, and founder of Dazed and Confused, pushed her to break character. “He kept saying, 'Chloe! Chloe!' but I wouldn't give him anything.” Toward the end of the presentation, at about hour two, she relaxed a bit: “I started smiling, and even stuck my tongue out a little.”

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