Chloë Sevigny on Bones And All, Sweater Season, and Her New Warby Parker Collab
In 2018, Chloë Sevigny was approached by Warby Parker to design a pair of glasses alongside fellow New York icons Fran Lebowitz, Lena Dunham, and Humberto Leon for Pupils Project, the eyewear juggernaut’s “Buy A Pair, Give A Pair” program. The result was the Tate, a slim, acetate-dipped wire frame with a keyhole bridge that fulfilled Sevigny’s quest for the perfect pair of gold specs. Now, the Tate is back by popular demand in both silver and its original finish. To celebrate the re-release and a new self-styled campaign shot by Brianna Capozzi, Mel Ottenberg called up New York’s perennial “it” girl for a chat about sweater weather, Bones and All, and the actor’s most iconic fashion eras.
CHLOË SEVIGNY: Hi Mel.
MEL OTTENBERG: Oh my god. Hi. It’s sweater weather. I’m wearing a sweater. What are you wearing?
SEVIGNY: I’m wearing an oxford.
SEVIGNY: It’s sweater weather in the shade. In the sun it’s hot as hell.
OTTENBERG: You know what? I’m sitting in Washington Square in the shade wearing a sweater, and it’s like a roll neck sweater and it just felt like the right thing. But honestly, walking here was not sweater weather.
SEVIGNY: I see all those people that are jumping the gun. They’re so excited. They get their looks out, and you can tell they’re miserable.
OTTENBERG: I am wearing shorts, and I’m not miserable. Chloë. It’s always a pleasure to talk to you though. And in a sweater, it’s even better. I just had to wear something really preppy to go with the thing. We’ll get to oxford shirts in a second, because that’s part of this. But motherfucker, I saw Bones And All.
OTTENBERG: I love it so much. It’s incredible. I’ve been in love, and it felt like love. That was a movie about love.
OTTENBERG: I thought it was so good. I was like, wait, this movie’s so disgusting. Four people walked out of the screening. And I was like, “Oh my god, they’re walking out and not coming back.” It’s amazing. I feel like people are going to throw up in the movie theater, but that is not—
SEVIGNY: The first time I saw it I was so vocal, but I’m also a very vocal moviegoer. I’m one of those people in the theater that’s like gasping and shouting. Even in Venice, I gasped during one of the cannibal scenes, and Luca [Guadagnino] turned and gave me a stink eye and I was like, “Oh my god. Wait until you screen this in New York and you get some New Yorkers in the theater, then it’s really going to come alive.”
OTTENBERG: No, no, no. You’re right. Dude, I’m going to the busiest theater to see this shit when this shit comes out, because it’s A, fire, and B I can’t wait to hear people screaming. I actually was so stunned by how into it I was. I texted my ex being like, “Hey, I just saw the most disgusting cannibal movie about love, and it really made me think of us and how beautiful it was when we were in love.” And he was like, “Wow, I can’t wait to see it.”
SEVIGNY: Oddly, for a cannibal movie, it really stays with you. I found days after I was like, I just want to be back in their world with them, their romance and—
OTTENBERG: I was like, “Chloë has the shortest screen time in something that’s going to last with you forever. How many minutes was that? Do you know?
SEVIGNY: I don’t know. But oddly Luca texted me. He’s like, “I’m in the Midwest and doing this movie. I have a small but pivotal role. Would you come and do it?” And I was like, “I would come for one line for you.” Then, I got the script. I was like, “I don’t even have one line.”
SEVIGNY: I have a voiceover, but I just do some growling. And I was like, “This motherfucker, again.”
OTTENBERG: You know what, Chloë? You’re always up for it. You always do the right roles and you know when it’s worth going to the Midwest, so—
SEVIGNY: He’s worth it for me. I can’t say enough good things about him and adore him. Any chance to be in Chalamet’s world, please.
OTTENBERG: Wow. I’m in the park right now. My mouth has dropped just by talking to you about this fucking movie that you’re in. It’s so thick. And Taylor Russell, we love her.
OTTENBERG: First and foremost though, I love Chloë Sevigny. Oh wait, one other question. Chloe, how many times have you been in love? I’ve only been in love once, real love.
SEVIGNY: Love, I would say four or five times maybe. Maybe less. Maybe more.
OTTENBERG: Oh my god. She loves hard. I love that. You’re a passionate person.
SEVIGNY: Yeah. I love being in love. But now looking back, I was like, was I in love? There are all different kinds of love at different points in your life.
OTTENBERG: Yes, yes, yes.
SEVIGNY: But I always blamed my promiscuity on the fact that I was over-loved. My parents really smothered me with love, and then I think I was always starved for it because of that.
SEVIGNY: I mean sexual and otherwise.
OTTENBERG: And you love glasses. That’s for sure. Chloë loves glasses.
SEVIGNY: Well, we love Chrissie Miller. And Chrissie was doing this project originally called the Pupils Project, where she had asked a select group of cool New Yorkers to design frames as part of this “Buy A Pair, Give A Pair” project. And it was me and Fran Lebowitz, Lena Dunham, Humberto Leon, and just a cool group. I designed these Tate frames. I don’t even know who titled them that, and they sold out immediately. And then we did another run, and I was like, “Give the people what they want. If these are selling out overnight and people keep asking for them, why not do another run in another colorway?”
OTTENBERG: Because Chloë Sevigny understands classics, people. She understands if she hits it out of the park with a pair of glasses, you should do it again, but maybe this time in a crystallized silver frame.
SEVIGNY: Warby is affordable and there’s no labels on the side. I am so frustrated every time I see a good pair of sunglasses, and you open the arm, and there’s some big chunky brand name on the arm. That I find very frustrating about the sunglasses world, period.
OTTENBERG: We were talking about this before. It’s Chloë Sevigny circa, I think, 2006. It’s when I first saw you in the white Ray-Bans, which for the record didn’t even exist before you, because your mom found them at a tag sale, right?
SEVIGNY: True. Yeah, in Connecticut, at a Boy Scout tag sale.
OTTENBERG: It was the kind of thing that people like me talked about on the phone, not even text messages. We were talking about Chloe Sevigny in her sunglasses on the phone. I guess people would talk about that on TikTok now. But wait, what year was that?
SEVIGNY: It was sometime in the early 2000s. It became a huge thing. I’ve always been on this “What was she thinking?” list within the tabloid world. They were really attacking me so much to the point that my publicist and my agent called me on a conference call saying, “We’re so sick of seeing you being ridiculed because of these glasses that we think you should put them away.”
OTTENBERG: And did you? Because they were the best. They were really one of the best sunglasses of all time in the history of—
SEVIGNY: No, and I still have them.
OTTENBERG: Good. Fuck yeah. And then—
SEVIGNY: Then I was like, I’m going to wear red ones, and I’m going to put red lenses in them and really mess with their world.
OTTENBERG: But also, listen, we love when the tabloids hate us. Also, of course, Chloe Sevigny in Gummo, 1996?
SEVIGNY: I don’t know.
OTTENBERG: Okay, whatever. That hair, it’s giving…I can’t remember if it’s that hair or if it’s Cherie Currie hair, but it’s basically the same thing on the cover of Interview. Getting the cover of The Post saying that I’m disgusting, Interview‘s disgusting, Kim’s disgusting, and that look is disgusting is the biggest compliment in life, because viva hate.
SEVIGNY: Wasn’t it more about her bum-bum than the hair or—
OTTENBERG: It’s the whole thing. It’s the disgust of the whole thing that makes me happy.
SEVIGNY: Having her in front of the American flag with her tushy out?
OTTENBERG: Listen, Chloë. Your reference of the hair and makeup made the whole thing possible. The reason I brought up those sunglasses too is because I’m looking at the Warby campaign. I feel like you’re giving different Chloë iconic moments in the campaign. Okay, let me just go with it. We’ve got sexy Manhattan Chloë in the black bodysuit with the tool and then, there’s this really hot picture of Chloë. She’s just a girl from Darien in the oxford shirt, possibly the one you’re wearing right now, but if not, similar.
OTTENBERG: And then we’ve got the Chloë with the white sunglasses with the kilt and the denim jacket. That’s your 2006 era, right?
SEVIGNY: Well, we had to show the versatility.
OTTENBERG: Pretty. You’re the girl next door. You’re just—
SEVIGNY: For the glasses.
OTTENBERG: The one I think is the hottest in glasses is “I’m just in my grandma’s nightgown.” It’s very erotic.
SEVIGNY: My grandma’s nightgown? I don’t know which one that is.
OTTENBERG: It’s a yellow dress with a print on it with a lace ruffle trim.
SEVIGNY: That’s a historic Vivienne Westwood corset, just framed out.
OTTENBERG: Well, thank you for correcting me. But I’m telling you, it’s—
SEVIGNY: My grandma’s nightgown.
OTTENBERG: Well, she’s somebody’s grandma. It’s an erotic thrill looking at this. Just take the compliment.
SEVIGNY: Okay, thank you. [Laughs]
OTTENBERG: And then that one is giving—okay, so that’s the clear silver frames one, which is amazing. Did the idea for this shape come from something where you’re like, “Guys, this is what we need to do with Warby?” Or was this something they already did well?
SEVIGNY: I’d been searching for my old gold frames, I mean this was also a few years ago now. People like Camille Bidault-Waddington and Mary Frey—there was a real gold frame moment happening in the city and I was like, let’s make a nice gold wire frame, but one that’s sturdy. So then we did the plexi on it.
OTTENBERG: And these are $145. And also some of it goes to charity. And do you have a favorite of these?
SEVIGNY: I like yellow gold. I’m a yellow gold gal.
OTTENBERG: Do you have a pair of spectacles, sunglasses, or glasses from your career that you want to shout out as your best eyewear moment in film?
SEVIGNY: I feel like whenever anybody wants to make me look bookish, they put me in glasses. David Fincher put me in glasses in Zodiac, a little wire frame. It was pretty. And Casey Storm did the costumes. Those are pretty special. Jim Jarmusch always puts me in glasses, like in Broken Flowers and The Dead Don’t Die. Maybe he’s turned on by them. I don’t know.
OTTENBERG: I mean, nothing’s going to make you look like a lady cop like a pair of wire glasses.
SEVIGNY: [Laughs] I guess so.
OTTENBERG: I lost the best sunglasses I’ve ever owned. Do you know Catwalk in LA on Fairfax?
SEVIGNY: Of course. I love those ladies.
OTTENBERG: Oh my god, they’re just so major. I just bought two pairs from them and they were mind blowing and one I lost one earlier this summer. And then the other one just fell off of me when I was untying a boat in Fire Island and now I’m sunglass-less. Where do you go in the city? Should I go to Fabulous Fanny’s? Should I go to—
SEVIGNY: I was going to say Fabulous Fanny’s. That’s where I would always go.
OTTENBERG: I mean fabulous for work. I’m discovering new things for women’s glasses, I always go to Selima, but I feel like Fanny’s might be where I need to just find some weird men’s sunglasses.
SEVIGNY: Yeah. I would say Fabulous Fanny’s. Or what about The RealReal?
OTTENBERG: Oh no.
OTTENBERG: No, they were like ’90s Ray-Ban wraparound sunglasses that were like the essence of Mel Ottenberg. Whatever. It’s over. I’ll find a new pair of sunglasses.
SEVIGNY: They might have those at Fabulous Fanny’s.
OTTENBERG: They might. I’m going to walk there right now before my next thing. Okay. So Brianna Capozzi shot these pictures. How many times do you think Brianna Capozzi has shot you?
SEVIGNY: Oh god. Countless timed. I don’t know.
OTTENBERG: Okay. So now that the season is changing, what are you most looking forward to wearing, possibly, with your Tate golds?
SEVIGNY: Well, you know what I’m looking forward to, which I need help with, is jeans. I know you wear a classic 501, but—
OTTENBERG: Wait. Okay, I have the hook up for you, actually. You’re down for vintage or you want new?
OTTENBERG: So This woman from The Vintage Twin—
SEVIGNY: Oh, the one on Broadway?
OTTENBERG: Yeah. I got her number and then I called her and I was like, “This is what I need.” And then she got some jeans. She came in to meet me and I tried them on. I was like, these aren’t right and this is why. And then she was like, give me another week. I’m like, yeah, of course. And then she pulls all this shit and I’m like, you motherfucker, you turned me out. So now I have all new looks, because I had also lost my denim jacket. I tend to lose the things I love the most. I’m going to hook you up.
SEVIGNY: Well, that’s your uniform. So you’re so lucky. You just get away with that all the time. Yeah.
OTTENBERG: Exactly. All right, this is it. Thanks Chloë. Thanks for making the time and I’m excited to see you in your glasses.
SEVIGNY: Thank you.