Chloë Sevigny becomes the Snow Queen in an artistic retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale
Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena are turning publishers. The British-Bulgarian duo behind Chopova Lowena have released a new book, Conversations With Angels, that is a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Snow Queen by the artist and poet Precious Okoyomon. Starring Chloë Sevigny as the titular queen and photographed by Charlotte Wales, the book uses looks from the designers’ fall 2023 collection as a jumping-off point to tell this beloved children’s tale.
Fashion’s love affair with the literary world has been raging for a few years. Loewe’s fall 2021 show notes included an excerpt of Danielle Steel’s novel The Affair, and Proenza Schouler’s fall 2023 show featured diary entries by Ottessa Moshfegh on the soundtrack (read by Sevigny, as it happens). Just last month Pierpaolo Piccioli cited Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life as an inspiration for his Valentino men’s spring 2024 collection, going so far as to send copies of the bestseller as an invitation.
Chopova and Lowena have already collaborated with Wales on two photo books: Kukeri, which documented a Bulgarian winter festival of the same name and also served as the backdrop for the duo’s early collections soon after their launch in 2018, and Kur, a flip-book that featured England’s equestrian vaulting team wearing their fall 2019 collection. “We started thinking about folkloric children’s books, fairy tales, and how we can modernize that,” Chopova said via email. “We love creating book projects because they feel so special, it lasts for such a long time, and it portrays our vision in such a meaningful way.”
Starring Chloë Sevigny, Chopova Lowena’s new book is a modern retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen by the poet and artist Precious Okoyomon. Photo: Chopova Lowena
Released today with a special event at Bergdorf Goodman in Manhattan, the book commemorates their fall 2023 collection, photographed on Sevigny along with a group of street-cast kids from London (and perhaps one or two other familiar faces). “Since we do one show a year, we love working on projects like this in between,” Lowena explained. “It brings another dimension of storytelling and something special to collections.”
They chose The Snow Queen because it fits the themes of their fall collection (“’70s ski and Georgian-era British dress”) but perhaps more importantly “because it’s a childhood favourite of Laura’s.” The choice of Okoyomon was a natural one for the designers, who have been fans of the artist for a long time. “Asking for a modern reimagination of a fairy tale was a big thing, but Precious really told such a beautiful and poetic story, with all the perfect modern twists,” Chopova said. In Okoyomon’s retelling, a mirror becomes a cell phone, the arrival of dark forces is imbued with beauty (“For the first time / shadows are buzzing / into billions of new colours”), and the Snow Queen’s inner monologue is described thusly:
*I’m evil but I’m *
On the facing page is Sevigny in a white cotton crop top with puffy sleeves and a matching gathered cotton skirt (that’s Look 36 from the collection), and yes, she’s looking just.really.hot. Working with the actor was a “dream come true” for the designers, who had long watched her movies. They connected a few years ago when Sevigny DM’d them on Instagram about a necklace. (“It was incredible. We were very, very excited.”) Two years later, they were the ones slipping into the actress’s DMs. “I messaged her about [this project], and she was interested—talk about the most exciting thing that could have happened!” Chopova shared. The designers flew to New York earlier this year for the photo shoot. “Laura and I are both the biggest fans of Chloë and have been trying to play it cool as much as possible. It was an experience neither of us will ever forget.”
Originally published on Vogue US