The actress Chloe Sevigny arrived at the long-standing Kiehl’s store at 109 Third Avenue on Thursday, April 9, in petal pink lipstick and a black minidress with eyelets along the side, exposing little circles of fair skin.
Ms. Sevigny, 34, who lives just three blocks away, was asked to host the celebration of Kiehl’s 158-year-old history with the unveiling of a few renovations (mostly small) at the flagship store to make it look even closer to the way it did in 1851, when it first opened as the neighborhood apothecary.
“If Kiehl’s were a woman, she’d be Chloe!” the president of Kiehl’s, Chris Salgardo, declared to the Daily Transom.
Mr. Salgardo, a bulky, muscular man with a thick black beard, was dressed casually in jeans, a muscle shirt and a blazer. “We love Chloe. Someone like Chloe, she’s just so East Village.”
Given that Ms. Sevigny and the store are both residents of the East Village, we asked Mr. Salgardo how he felt about his little apothecary being surrounded by all the shiny glass buildings sprouting up in the area. (One Ten Third, for instance, which has gone up directly across the street.)
“Yes, that was new, that was definitely new,” he replied. “The Village has changed, but it’s not so bad. New York is cleaned up. But, I think, more so than any other part of the city, it remains very spirited and very interesting. But, you know, I don’t want to see a Pottery Barn on the corner.”
“Hey, Lexi!” Ms. Sevigny was saying to a young attractive blonde nearby, before turning to the Daily Transom and explaining, “That was my cousin.” (Her brother, Paul Sevigny, was also present as the DJ for the event.)
“I’ve been using their products for years and you know they are always very … very … uh, generous!” she finally conceded.
How does she think the neighborhood has changed?
“Oh, you know, it’s bank, nail salon, bank, nail salon, bank, nail salon,” she replied. “The Subway across the street from Veselka, it’s just an eyesore. The bigger chains coming in everywhere, it’s depressing. You know what really bugs me about the neighborhood, actually? The students! The N.Y.U. kids and they’ve opened an SVA dorm near my house, so now it’s even more.” (Ms. Sevigny said that if she decided to retreat from the neighborhood, she would go back to Gramercy Park, where she lived for 10 years.)
On the topic of her brother’s embattled bar, the Beatrice Inn, which was recently shut down by the city’s Buildings Department, Ms. Sevigny was coy. Still, she said she will be in attendance at the secret “Free the Beatrice” party set to take place on Friday night, April 10, at an undisclosed location.
“I think I will be there. I have to support it, it’s my brother’s bar!” she said. “I’ve been out of the country for three months, but I was there regularly of course before that.”
Will the Beatrice persevere?
“I hope so,” she said. “Unless, of course, the community board or something. …”
But where would everyone go?
“I don’t know!” she said. “I don’t go anywhere else!”