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The first time it happened, Chloe was seventeen. She was standing at a newsstand on Sixth Avenue, in the Village, when she was approached by Andrea Lee Linett, the fashion editor at Sassy. Linett was styling a commercial for the short-lived “Jane” show. “I saw Chloe,” she says, “and I thought, Oh, we have to put her in the shot, but the producers said, ‘No, she’s really weird-looking.’ ” Linett stuck her in the commercial anyway and then asked her to do a shoot for the magazine. Chloe was photographed eating a carrot, wearing the big tan corduroy overalls that had caught Linett’s eye. At the time, Chloe had hair down to her butt, and she used to tuck it up inside a big Nefertitian hat of her own creation. After the shoot, Linett went out and bought baggy tan corduroy overalls for herself.

Chloe was still a student at Darien High School then, sneaking off to the city whenever she could. She’d tell her parents that she hated them for raising her in Darien, that ur-suburb, though actually her parents were pretty cool: when Chloe shaved her head, her mother told her that she looked really cute, kind of French. And her father understood her attraction to the city; he’d lived on St. Mark’s Place and hung out at Max’s Kansas City before he moved to Darien for the sake of the very kids—Chloe and her older brother, Paul—who would later yell at him for it. Chloe’s was not quite the conventional Darien upbringing, any more than she is the conventional rebellious suburban kid. She grew up in a gray shingled ranch house near Long Island Sound that looks pretty raffish amid the austere white Colonials and the tall, picket-fenced Victorians. “My father was in insurance until his company was sold, and then he started painting trompe-l’oeil. He started with our kitchen, and then he did it for other people. He’s really good. We never had as much money as everyone else. I didn’t really like the kids in Darien “ So Chloe started coming to the city, where she found kindred spirits in the tribe of skateboarders based in Washington Square Park. “I used to tell my parents I was going to Greenwich or New Rochelle. Then I’d drive into the city. The summer of ’92 was when I first met everyone. I came to the city with two girls from Connecticut who were my homegirls. We’d go to Washington Square Park and I’d meet people. Every skater in the city was there. I’d go every weekend and hang, and then stay at different skaters’ homes.”

It happened again a few months after the Sassy shoot, when Chloe was hanging out in the city, kicking it with her friend Harold and the other skateboarders. While she was sitting in a friend’s car just off Washington Square, she noticed a woman walking past for maybe the third time, and then the woman stuck her head in the window and told Chloe she was a photographer and asked if she would like to be in i-D, a British fashion-and-music magazine that just happened to be one of Chloe’s all-time favorite publications.

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Meanwhile, the folks at Sassy asked Chloe to be an intern that summer. And then Sonic Youth—the godparents of alternative rock, and possibly the coolest band in the world—cast her in their new video. The idea for the video was to do a little parable about the way Seventh Avenue plagiarizes the guerrilla fashion of the street: the Trickle-Up Theory of Fashion, where the Up Haute cops the Down Low. The whole grunge thing was just peaking: runway models were slouching around in expensive hommages to the scruffy rockers of Seattle and their thrift-shop flannel shirts. And who better than Chloe to represent the supercool street girl whose style gets ripped off in the designer showroom?

“I heard about Chloe through Sassy,” says Daisy von Furth, twenty-five, who styled the video and, together with grungy heartthrob Kim Gordon, the bass player of Sonic Youth, designs X-Girl, a line of casual rock-and-roll-girl clothing. “When I met Chloe, I instantly knew that she was so super-cool, and it’s been so cool to see where she’s gone from there fashionwise. She was dressing in arch preppy stuff and wide-wale corduroys, and she always had the best look. It was never off-the-rack skate stuff. We were all into old Fila stuff from the mid-eighties, but it was like her Fila sweater would blow yours away. She looked like a village guy who steals from Polo.” The Polo element of Chloe’s wardrobe was in part a function of a job she’d taken at the mall in Stamford senior year. Chloe tried all the stores in the mall: “I had just shaved my head and I thought it was really funny that Polo was the only one that called me back.” The safe, sporty uniform of prepsters and Westchester Saab drivers was at that moment being hijacked by rappers and skaters in a sort of inversion of the Trickle-Up Theory. “All the hip-hop kids were sporting Polo then,” Chloe explains. “They called it ’Lo. But now it’s not hip. Everyone wears it now.” Everyone but Chloe.

“She’s ahead of the other girls,” von Furth says, “because she’s read all the history of fashion and she can go into a thrift shop and find the old Yves Saint Laurent dress, when all the other girls are going, ‘Hey, wow, look at this wacky T-shirt.’ If you can get it on Prince Street or Broadway, it’s already over for Chloe.”

Chloe was one of the models for the New York launch of the X-Girl line, which took place on Wooster Street last April—a major gathering of the interconnected tribes of hip-hop, rave, indie rock, and skateboarding. Chloe was also one of the muses. “We took one shirt she had,” von Furth says, “and we knocked it off. It was this blue broadcloth shirt and it just fit her so well. When we were doing our fall stuff I had her try on stuff. Sometimes I think, This is really Chloe-ish.”

Around that time, Chloe posed for a fashion spread in Paper, the Vogue of the down-low universe, and she did the Lemonheads video for “Big Gay Heart.” The Lemonheads are considered either very cool or really bogus—lead singer Evan Dando has managed to inspire an anti-fanzine called Die Evan Dando, Die, presumably because he is too cute and his songs are too catchy. But Chloe simply likes the Lemonheads. “One of the great things about Chloe is that she’s incredibly enthusiastic,” von Furth says. “A lot of other girls in her position as super-cool girl would be really mean and jaded, but she’s not jaded at all.” Andrea Lee Linett agrees. “She’s not too cool for school, and she doesn’t have an attitude. She’s like a pure Edie Sedgwick, minus the drugs and craziness. She still likes her parents.”

Chloe’s girlish enthusiasm can break out at almost any time, as when she hears from a friend that a film based on her favorite book, Jim Carroll’s “Basketball Diaries,” is being shot in the East Village. She just has to wander by the set, and, my God, there he is, the slouchy poet laureate of the downtown lowlife himself, Jim Carroll, and she can’t help approaching him and telling him, “You can’t let them do this.” Chloe is concerned that the film will violate the spirit of the book, not just because she has heard a rumor that they might be changing the heroin to crack and because Marky Mark (Chloe rolls her eyes) is in it, but finally because it’s, well, Hollywood. Yet, for all her purist concern, what comes through when she recounts this story is her delight at meeting an idol: “I was so excited. It was one of the highlights of my life.”

Certainly anyone who has heard Chloe’s laugh—which alternately suggests a mallard surprised into flight and a drowning victim gasping for air—would be hard-pressed to call her jaded. But it’s probably her spacey air of mystery and reserve as well as the street chic that keep causing people to ask, “Who is that girl?”

“She’s definitely the girl of the moment,” says Walter Cessna, a writer for Paper. “All the kids think she’s the shit, all the store owners think she’s the shit. What’s interesting about Chloe is she spans both scenes, the whole grunge thing and the whole rave thing. Chloe really is the symbol for all those kids. But she does keep to herself.” Cessna wrote a screenplay, “Children of the Rave,” loosely based on Chloe and other kids from the scene. He also tried to represent her for modelling assignments, but found her curiously indifferent to being marketed. “I came up with serious stuff, like Steven Meisel for Italian Vogue, and she never showed up. It was kind of a fuck-you thing. At the time I was pissed, but now I kind of admire it. But finally I couldn’t deal with the fifteen phone numbers and everything.”

Chloe cheerfully admits to blowing off Meisel, one of the most important fashion photographers alive. (This seeming indifference to marketing herself may be her most attractive quality. It may also be canny.) To call Chloe elusive is an understatement: contacting her is a matter of triangulation—calling friends, calling her parents, calling Liquid Sky, the boutique on Lafayette Street where she has been working for the past year. When an appointment is made, it’s not always kept, particularly if it’s before afternoon. And when you find Chloe—when she’s right there, sitting across the table from you at Jerry’s or Odessa, in a tight black sweater she bought in Darien for three dollars embroidered with French expressions like “Affaire de Coeur” and “Cherchez la Femme”—you may find yourself still looking for her, looking for something more. It’s a neat trick to be able to suggest hidden reserves—to be a tabula rasa and seem to be the Dead Sea Scrolls—and Chloe’s friends all eventually allude to this sense that she is holding back. “She just sits there,” says her friend Rita Ackermann, a Budapest-born artist, “but she controls the whole scene. That’s her charisma.”

Source : http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1994/11/07/chloes-scene

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