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Chloë Sevigny and the Dover Street Market

January 22, 2020

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I have always been intrigued by the actress/model/director, Chloë Sevigny because she’s an independent spirit who follows her own path. I mean this in a good way. Back a bit, I read that she had just earned a nice chunk of change so she treated her friends to a stay at the GoldenEye resort on the island of Jamaica. Having been to Jamaica I was curious as to what it looked like so I checked it out on the web. The GoldenEye is situated next to the former home of Ian Fleming, the famous author of the James Bond books and, I must say, it did not disappoint. It’s elegantly rustic and quite private – I saw at once why she chose it. (We stayed at a hotel on Montego Bay and rented a jeep to see all the sights.)

Chloë looking very cool – photo courtesy of Vanity Fair, October 2019

Then I came across an interview with Sevigny in the Weekend Financial Times of September 14-15/19 by Grace Cook with the headline, “Smells Like Screen Spirit” and a subhead that states, “Creating her debut floral fragrance was like learning about fine wine.” I had never read a creation-in-progress for a fragrance described this way before.

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN

Chloë Sevigny, shot to fame at the age of 24 following her debut in Larry Clark’s indie film Kids. This catapulted her to “It Girl” (and youth style icon) status. Today she keeps her finger in many creative pies. Cook writes, “Aside from starring in a roster of high-profile, independent flicks, she has recently turned her hand to directing. She’s also designed an optical collection with Warby Parker and is now launching a fragrance.” She’s definitely on a roll!

That said, Sevigny still retains the same sense of cool that she’s had since the nineties. During a New Yorker interview in 1994 – while perched on an outdoor table in the East Village – she was asked by two teens where her jelly shoes were from (I remember those wild things). She told them, then promptly took herself and the journalist to buy new shoes in Chinatown: in case everybody started wearing jellies.

LAUNCHING “LITTLE FLOWER”

Rather than introducing her fragrance at a department store, Sevigny’s perfume debuted exclusively at the Dover Street Market (DSM) – the cult high-fashion shop by Comme des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo – in Los Angeles, London and New York.

The Dover Street Market can also be found in Beijing, China, Singapore and  Japan – in Ginza, Tokyo – the first store opened in London in 2004

For “Little Flower” she partnered with the LA-based artisan perfumer Régine des Fleurs. The scent has top notes of rose, black current and tea. “Launching at DSM was a strategic move,” she says. “I think the Dover Street customer is more familiar with me. I go there to people watch. All the kids that work there look so wild. It’s fun to look at the customers or employees and see the insane outfits they wear.” This stopped me cold.

WHERE IS THE DOVER STREET MARKET?

I had never even heard of this store so I went on the web. To my amazement it was about a 15-minute walk from where I live! The address given was 160 Lexington Avenue so I headed out at once. Where is 160? I walked back-and-forth five times and then muttered, “You jerk, you wrote down the wrong address.” So I turned right from Lexington and started walking up 30th Street. Two young ladies were sipping cold drinks while sitting on the steps of a nondescript building.

After my first visit I returned to the DSM with a friend and, lo and behold! There is signage on the second set of front doors – still none on the first set when the doors are closed – definitely an air of mystery about this place.    

Taking one last shot I said, (biting off every word) “HAVE. YOU. EVER. HEARD. OF. THE. DOVER. STREET. MARKET?” Without saying a word one whipped around and pointed to the door of the building. I almost fainted. I said, “Do you have any idea how long I’ve been looking for this?” Without missing a beat, she replied, “Are you kidding? We walked completely around the block three times.” Suddenly I felt better.

A creative and fanciful stairway in DSM – I’m sure you’ve never seen anything quite like it. And yes, we walked down.

YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS SHOP!

This incognito establishment is seven floors of jaw-dropping merchandise, mind-boggling fixtures and a staff of great-looking guys (plus a few gals) in black from top-to-toe that look as if they were sent from Central Casting. Enough said. See for yourself.

The merchandise is displayed with a lot of hoopla – and it doesn’t stick around. I was warned but I didn’t take it seriously – both the cap I was going to purchase for my great-nephew and the “Little Flower” fragrance had disappeared. Warning: if you see an item you really like – buy it at once!

Shaun Nelson-Henrick



1 Response

Marilynn
Marilynn

January 29, 2020

One never realizes th amount of work entailed to launch a new perfume ! How interesting she chose DSM to market h r perfume. Amazing place absolutely unique. Thanks for the story and am totally at a loss to think of a word to describe the store.

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