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Chloe Sevigny Dazed
Dazed issue Autumn-Winter 2019Photography Harley Weir, Styling Robbie Spencer

You too can now smell just like Chloë Sevigny

TextAlex Peters

The fashion icon and current cover star tells us about her relationship with scent and the inspiration behind new perfume Little Flower

“I have a very sensitive nose when I was a little girl I couldn’t even go to the zoo,” Chloë Sevigny tells me, describing where her early interest in scent started. “My aunt wore Yves Saint Laurent Paris and she collected perfume bottles which then she passed onto me so I had this whole fantasy-escape world through perfume.”

Chloë Sevigny has been the ultimate It-girl for decades. “Chloë is the girl of the moment,” wrote Jefferson Hack in his 1996 Dazed & Confused cover interview of the young star fresh off Kids and a few years out of appearing in Sonic Youth’s “Sugar Kane”. Jump forward 23 years and Chloë Sevigny is back on the cover, slightly older, probably wiser but still effortlessly cool, still a style icon on her own terms. “Today, Sevigny could command legions,” Claire Healy writes in the accompanying profile (read more here). 

And now after conquering the worlds of fashion and film, Sevigny has turned her magic dust to beauty, collaborating on a fragrance with old friends Alia Raza and Ezra Woods of Régime des Fleurs, an equally cool independent perfumer. Over a year in the making, Sevigny tested 33 iterations of the fragrance alongside Raza and Woods before landing on the final version. 

Little Flower is the resulting scent – an ottoman rose-based fragrance with notes of black currant and palo santo. “It starts off very crisp and very fresh,” Sevigny says. “Then it becomes more earthen and woody.” 

Sevigny was equally involved in the design of the bottle which houses the scent and is not only beautiful but practical – it’s airplane-approved something that was very important to the actress. “I hate having a fragrance that is above the limit,” she laughs.

Here, we speak with the icon about her personal memories of scent and the inspiration for Little Flower. 

Have you always been interested in fragrances and scents?

Chloë Sevigny: I have a very sensitive nose when I was a little girl I couldn’t even go to the zoo. We lived in the suburbs and I was really into being outdoors and I played year-round, even in the cold, outdoors and I was so into the smell of the earth and the trees and the crab apple trees and the mud and the snow and the dried leaves. Everything that came with every season. That’s why I’ve always stayed in the North East because I love the seasons, I love the smell of the seasons so I think my love for all things fragrance came from that. 

My first experience with perfume was my mother’s fragrance which was Arpege by Lanvin, which was a very perfume-y perfume and very glamorous because my mum would put it on when she was going out with my dad and she was getting dressed up. It became this window into a whole other world for me. My aunt wore Yves Saint Laurent Paris and she collected perfume bottles which then she passed onto me so I had this whole fantasy escape world through perfume and perfume bottles.

Do you remember the first perfume that you bought for yourself?

Chloë Sevigny: Well I was given a lot of Chloé every birthday and Christmas, people were always giving me Chloé. And I remember I had a perfume make-up kit that was for young people in elementary school and I used to play with that. In elementary school, I wore a tea rose. Little girls in elementary school wearing perfume sounds funny, but because I had amassed this huge collection of perfume bottles I was just obsessed. Of course, most of them had turned to alcohol because a lot of them were really old. 

How did the fragrance come about, why was it something you wanted to do?

Chloë Sevigny: My friends own the business, Régime des Fleurs, it’s independently owned by the two of them and we have been friends for 10-15 years now. You know when your friends come up with an idea and they start making something you are really into, you want to help them and bolster them and also get the opportunity to make your own perfume. 

I just loved all the scents they were producing, all of their bottles, their packaging, their whole philosophy towards beauty. They were doing all these collaborations with different artists and they approached me, so I said: ‘Sure, let's go for it’. It was more just about being able to spend time with them, and also discover more about the business. And I’m also somewhat of a workaholic so just being able to create something that will bring people joy and a beautiful object, all those things.

Did you go into the process with an ingredient that you wanted to use or a concept – where did you start?

Chloë Sevigny: We started with all the perfumes that I had worn over the years and liked and we sat down and we sprayed them and they discerned what it was about each of the fragrances that I liked. I didn’t have the vernacular when we first started off, but they could determine what it was about each scent and then we found some other old-fashioned or older scents and went through those and picked little elements and then they started concocting. 

So this is your perfect scent! What do you think a good fragrance should do for someone?

Chloë Sevigny: It should lighten them and make them feel comforted and warm and sexy and bright – all at the same time. For me, my perfume really lifts me, it lifts my spirit and I don’t feel comfortable leaving the house without it on. It’s also like a protective shell. Like I said before, my nose is very sensitive so I find myself sticking my face in my arm often, just breathing it in. So all of those things. 

When it came to designing the bottle – was that something you were looking forward to?

Chloë Sevigny: I was because I love all of their bottles so much and I respect and admire their taste and they are so refined. We did want to do something that was a little more pop-y and accessible. Some of their bottles had a little bit more of an antiquity feeling that we didn’t think would be as approachable for younger people so we wanted to do something a little more pop, a little more Hollywood, a little more fun. But also glamorous and refined.

Do you imagine the person who will wear your perfume is a bit younger?

Chloë Sevigny: Not necessarily, we did a couple of launches in New York and Los Angeles and there were all types of women and men that were purchasing it. I hope it appeals to a wide array of people. 

When you were making it, were you thinking you wanted a unisex scent?

Chloë Sevigny: I guess we kind of were, all of their scents are unisex scents. I think the most ‘girly’ thing about the scent is the bottle! But I think a man who is in touch with his feminine side can appreciate that and be OK with that. 

Little Flower debuted exclusively at Dover Street Market in London and is also available at Regime des Fleurs.

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