How Chloe Sevigny is reclaiming her image

The perennial It girl on her latest designing gig and her upcoming book

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Quick, name a pair of stylish siblings:

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen? Sure. Dakota and Elle Fanning? Definitely. Kendall Jenner and Kim Kardashian? Well, yes. But what about Chloë and Paul Sevigny? Indeed. 

This season, the actress / designer / model / muse pairs with her brother on a new collaboration—she's designed outfits for the waitresses at her brother's newest nightclub, Paul's Baby Grand.  The Havana-inspired boîte allows a mere 120 partygoers into its cozy halls, with frequent guests including Lindsay Lohan, Adrien Brody, and Natasha Lyonne. 

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Mr. Sevigny's club is in Tribeca, but we rang Ms. Sevigny at home in Brooklyn. Scroll down to read her thoughts on sexy waitresses, high school jobs, and Instagram-phobia. (There's also some scoop about her first-ever book!)

You design full collections for Opening Ceremony. How was making a uniform different from making a runway look?
That's tricky. With my Opening Ceremony collection, I design [the looks] to my body. I'm the fit model, and everything I'm designing has to be something I want to wear. Plus, I'm trying every piece on myself, and I'm 5'8", which isn't very tall in fashion world. With models, tall people are really tall. But these waitresses are 5'2". I'm like, 'Holy shit, these girls are miniature!'

And you had to take input from your big brother. Was that hard?
Yes! [Laughing] You never want to listen to your brother! At first, Paul was adamant about the waitresses not having sexy outfits. I said, 'Paul, part of these girls' income is from tips. They can't be like, nuns.'

Why wouldn't he want his waitresses to be sexy?
You know, sometimes you go into nightclubs and the waitresses are so hot and they're in, like, salsa dresses! It gives you anxiety! Paul wanted the women in his club to feel admired, but not competitive, which is a hard task! He's like, 'I want their hemlines to be to the knee.' And I'm like, 'No, they need a short skirt.' And the men's uniforms—which I didn't create—were kind of inspired by a fantasy world, like you come into this club and you're in another place. So I did a play on that idea with the girls. That's why they have ruffles.

The skirts on these outfits are really short. So did Paul finally cave, or...
No, this is a real collaboration. So the neckline is high; there's no cleavage, they're not skin tight, but I still think the uniforms are sexy, They're sexy in the same way as a maid's outfit!  

Lilly Pulitzer chose her wild fabrics because when she spilled juice on them, you couldn't tell.  Was that the same rationale with these big prints?
We found a lot of vintage fabrics in LA—believe it or not, a lot were from Tommy Bahama. But my big concern with the uniforms is that they have to be durable, because you have to wash them every night. So that was the main thing I was looking for.  But I also wanted to make sure that the waitresses are happy to wear them. That's the biggest thing. 

And do they like them?
I think so! Whenever I go in, I'm like, 'You look so cute!' They probably wish they were more sexy—like, overtly sexy. But I didn't want them to be cleavage-y. I think they're very sexy just as they are.

A lot of actresses were waitresses before hitting it big. Were you?
No! I worked at Ralph Lauren in Stamford Town Center in Connecticut when I was in high school. I've always been a shop girl. But I've known some of the women at Balthazar for years and years, and I have a lot of respect and admiration for them. Restaurants have so many different personalities and they have to juggle all of them. I have so much respect for waitresses.

If someone's rude to a waitress on a first date—
Oh, you never call them back. People who treat waitresses or waiters rudely—or taxi drivers—I have very little tolerance for those people. They work really hard. They deserve courtesy and respect.

New topic: Can you tell us anything about your upcoming book?
Oh, sure. It's a photo book by Rizzoli of me through the ages. I'm finishing it up right now.

It sounds like the ultimate Chloë Sevigny lookbook! Like, every outfit you've ever worn…
In this age of the Internet, it's a way of reclaiming my image. There are so many bad photo shoots of me, so many bad paparazzi shots. This is a way of reclaiming myself and my identity.

That's interesting. Can I ask why you're not on Instagram, then? You could post your own images every day…
I bet I will be [on Instagram] soon.  It's an inevitability.  I have this book coming out, I have my line with Opening Ceremony, and Instagram is a very good marketing tool. But I'm holding out. It feels like I'm teetering on the edge of shameless self promotion. The book versus Instagram—it's a fine line. 

Photos above from Getty Imges and Zac Sebastian

From the editors of ELLE.com

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