Some people are just born with a strong sense of personal style. Take Chloë Sevigny, for instance. While most of us were busy playing with blocks, the actress was already perfecting her eclectic—and now iconic—way of dressing.
“As a kid, I loved playing dress-up,” says Sevigny, who stars in the drama, The Dinner (opening May 5) and the Netflix series, Bloodline (streaming May 26) “I had a trunk full of my mother’s old things and other thrift stores finds. My favorite game was putting together a fun, weird costume. And it wasn't even about being fancy necessarily. It was about the fantasy that comes with style. Now, the red carpet is an extension of that for me.”
By Hollywood standards, Sevigny is still somewhat of a fashion unicorn because she doesn’t work with a stylist. “People are always like, ‘I can’t believe you don't use one!’” she says. “But I’ve worked with stylists here and there throughout my career and even then I usually end up picking out the dress myself.”
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The star says she can see the appeal in having some help though. “When you’re going to an event or you’re up for an award, there are so many other things to think about besides what you’re wearing, like ‘What am I going to say if I win? Who am I going to talk to?’ A stylist will worry about the shoes, bag, and jewelry for you, so you can focus on other things.”
Though going it solo might be more work, the payoff is worth it in Sevigny’s case. When you see her on the red carpet, she never looks uncomfortable in her choices. Every single piece feels authentic.
“Over the years, I’ve learned to be more myself,” she says. “There was a time when I was trying to dress more classical on the red carpet, so people would accept me more. I used to feel that Hollywood was like, ‘She's such a weirdo!’ But I've never dressed like Björk or anything like that. I just appreciate when people really go for it and wear more than just a pretty dress. I always set out to be a little left of center.”
Maybe it’s because all these years later, Sevigny is still game to play a little dress up. “I’ve been lucky to wear so many incredible one-of-a-kind looks,” she says. “I call them my Cinderella dresses because as beautiful as they are, you usually have to give them back at midnight.”
Keep scrolling to see Sevigny’s best red carpet looks of all-time. And for more stories like this, pick up the May issue of InStyle, available on newsstands and for digital download now.
In Proenza Schouler at the Met Gala in N.Y.C., 2010
“This was one of the best dresses I’ve ever worn,” says Sevigny of the custom Proenza Schouler mini that she chose for the 2010 Met Gala. “The color and the silhouette came together like magic. Plus, I love a good turtleneck. I danced around in it so much with my hands in the air that I ripped the arm holes. Thankfully, they were fixed. I still have it in my closet to this day.”
In Miu Miu at the amfAR Gala in N.Y.C., 2017
“I really wanted to try a red dress for amfAR because I hardly ever wear that color. And it’s really easy for me to buy into the Miu Miu fantasy. Whenever I go in the store, I always find something great.”
In vintage Yves Saint Laurent at a Golden Globes after-party in L.A., 2007
“This was actually my back-up dress for the Golden Globes. I had already been to Paris to meet with [then Yves Saint Laurent designer] Stefano Pilati and he fitted me in a completely different look to wear to the show, but when I got back to L.A. and sat down in it the halter neck ripped completely open. Thankfully I had this one ready to go.”
In Rodarte at the Big Love première in L.A., 2011
“I have a complicated relationship with high fashion because I’ve never been someone who thought, ‘Wow, this look or these shoes are going to change my life.’ It should be fun, but at the end of the day, it’s still a fantasy and shouldn’t be so serious."
In Isaac Mizrahi at the Emmys in L.A., 2009
“This was a more traditional look for me, but I loved the way the dress fit. I thought it was a really flattering cut. I also thought it was cool to wear Isaac Mizrahi on the red carpet because I was so into the film Unzipped in the ‘90s.”
In an Oscar de la Renta top and a Lana Marks belt at the Cannes Film Festival, 2007
“Sometimes I like to keep a look classic because I know the images will be revisited again and again.”
In Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche at the Academy Awards in L.A., 2000
“This was definitely a memorable night for me because I was nominated. I knew I wanted to keep it really old Hollywood glam. I was obsessed with this Yves Saint Laurent dress and the collection it come from. I paired it with a bunch of Bulgari bracelets and a Maltese cross necklace.”
In Chanel at the Cannes Film Festival, 2016
“I was actually going to a rose garden that day, so the hat was a bit of a practical choice. But since I was in Cannes, it felt very French to wear a lot of Chanel. They had a suite near the festival, so I picked out a few looks to borrow for the week. Then I mixed and matched the pieces with things I already had in my closet.”
In CHLOÉ at PaleyFest in L.A., 2009
“Sometimes it’s hard to strike the right balance on the red carpet. I grew up thinking of myself as this alternative girl that’s always been more into street style. It’s exciting when I find an outfit for the carpet that still feels like me.”
In Louis Vuitton at the Bloodline première in N.Y.C., 2015
“I love Nicolas [Ghesquière], so I wanted to give him a shout out with this outfit. I was into everything about it, from the pattern on the dress to the cool, textured boots.”
In Proenza Schouler at the Met Gala in N.Y.C., 2013
“With the Met Gala, there is always a theme that the designers can play off of. Or they can customize something for you from a current collection. This lace dress was similar to a look from Proenza’s fall 2013 show.”