In The Last Days of Disco, Chloë Sevigny’s killer wardrobe rivals her own. By Eviana Hartman
Chloë Sevigny is as celebrated for her style as she is for her acting. And while many recent roles have masked her innate fashion sense (namely those prairie-frump getups as Nicki on Big Love), one film in Sevigny’s oeuvre stands out with a wardrobe that lives up to her own: The Last Days of Disco, Whit Stillman’s 1998 coming-of-age cult classic. The indie film follows two hyper-literate female liberal-arts grads adrift in early-’80s Manhattan. If you like HBO’s Girls—and who doesn’t?—you’ll love it. And you’ll certainly love Sevigny’s heroine Alice Kinnon, a shy bookworm who may be struggling to find herself, but always finds the right thing to wear.
Alice slogs away the hours as an underpaid publishing assistant, but after the sun sets, she sails past the impenetrable velvet rope of The Club (a stand-in for Studio 54) and steals the hearts of a gang of Harvard men as nightlife history unfolds in the background. The difference between her office-wear and party ensembles is, well, night and day. On the clock, Alice means business in silk blouses, menswear-inspired layers, and modest skirts; it’s a nerdy-chic look evoking early Woody Allen heroines, seasoned with that unmistakably Sevigny je ne sais quoi. After dark, despite the seediness of the disco scene, Alice always appears elegant: clean lines, a hint of sparkle, and lots of black, all kept in check by dewy, minimal makeup and sweetly side-pinned hair.
Through it all, music fads and handsome cads come and go. But Alice gets the right guy (and a well-deserved promotion) by staying true to herself—and to a simple, tasteful look. Whether pitching a future bestseller to the boss in covered-up classics or boogie-ing to the beat in a sequined LBD, she remains, in the words of her suitor Tom, “a vision—not just of loveliness, but of virtue and sanity.”
Film stills courtesy of EVERETT COLLECTION