For a certain kind of fashion fiend, it was a dream: shop the actress Chloë Sevigny’s closet, with her present.
Ms. Sevigny, lauded as a fashion influencer and enthusiast, held a sale on Mother’s Day in a studio space in the NoHo neighborhood of Manhattan. Customers had the chance to buy items from Ms. Sevigny’s own wardrobe, Academy New York, pieces she had designed with Opening Ceremony, and costumes from various roles.
“I decided to properly care for or store some things in Los Angeles,” said Ms. Sevigny, who wore a black Comme des Garçons shirtdress and Manolo Blahnik slides. “And then there was a lot left over and I was like, you know what, I’m 48, I’m a mother, there’s a lot of stuff I don’t want to wear anymore. This is a big purge to pay for a few years of storage, give a chunk to a charity and pay for some more storage.”
The event was organized by Liana Satenstein, a former Vogue writer whose “Schmatta Shrink” service helps fashionistas clear out their closets and has evolved into a video series called Never Worns, where she tells the stories behind those clothes.
The sale was announced on Thursday via Instagram, under the title “Sale of the Century.” Ms. Sevigny was joined by the fashion editors Mickey Boardman (formerly of Paper Magazine), Lynn Yaeger (a contributing editor to Vogue) and Sally Singer (formerly of Vogue; now at Amazon), all hawking their clothes.
By noon, when the sale officially opened, a line snaked completely around the block; some customers had left their homes in New Jersey at 5:30 in the morning. “It’s like ouroboros, or the human centipede of fashion,” Ms. Satenstein said.
Mr. Boardman was seated in a side room with his friend Laura Wills, the owner of the vintage store Screaming Mimi’s, while Ms. Singer ran the till, which was in fact mostly Venmo. Was this her first experience working retail? “Sadly, no,” Ms. Singer said.
As the first customers charged out of the elevator, they had to pause. There was Ms. Sevigny, welcoming shoppers, gamely posing for selfies and doling out fashion advice. “You have to buy that,” she told Bella Raykhman, a 24-year-old art director considering some $145 denim chaps by Katharine Hamnett.
Ms. Raykhman said, “It might have been a marketing strategy, but it was effective.”
Ms. Sevigny held up a tiny leather miniskirt she said was from the 1990s. “It’s Michael Kors for Celine,” she said. “During my Oscar campaign for ‘Boys Don’t Cry,’ I wore this to different press events.” Nearby was a denim jacket and matching pants with a leafy print, a collaboration between Levi’s and Supreme. “I dated a boy who worked at Supreme for a while, so I used to get hooked up,” she said. “They still hook me up, because they like me.”
While a lone speaker blared Britney Spears, Madonna and Sonic Youth, shoppers — mostly women in their 20s — browsed items like an Hermès shearling coat ($1,995), a Lord & Taylor leather blazer ($135) and black Supreme shorts with the Playboy bunny near the hem ($150). “These are forever pieces in my closet,” said Abby Tompkins, a 26-year-old music marketer. She came for “the essential New York It girl look,” she said. “I’m already planning outfits in my head.”
Asha McDonald, a 29-year-old stylist, was trying to decide between a plaid Vivienne Westwood skirt ($450) and an armful of other items. The time had come to make a call. “It’s either now or I’m going to get a bladder infection,” she said. There were no restrooms.
Ms. Sevigny was still at the sale at 3, sorting clothes, moving mules from the floor to a more prominent rack where space had cleared up. Chelsea Manning stopped by, as well as Ivy Getty, a socialite and model, who admired a tiny sheer camisole dress in cyan. “That’s Versace!” Ms. Sevigny yelled to her from a couch.
Ms. Sevigny stayed until the bitter end, with the sale extending its hours until 6 (it was supposed to end at 5), when the very last pilgrims made it through the door. Ms. Satenstein said later that about 90 percent of the clothes were sold.
“I thought more people would rip things out of people’s hands,” said Rebecca Snyder, 22, a student who had waited for more than four hours with her friends. “It honestly ended up being really chill. It’s not that deep. It’s just clothes.”