De­signer

It girl no more. De­signer Alexa Chung talks about her first fall col­lec­tion.

Fashion (Canada) - - Contents - By Mishal Cazmi

Alexa Chung un­veils her first fall col­lec­tion.

When Alexa Chung launched her epony­mous cloth­ing line, the univer­sal re­sponse was “Fi­nally.” Pin­ter­est boards and hashtags are de­voted to Chung’s quirky and off­beat style. You can just close your eyes and pic­ture her in Ferragamo’s Vara pumps, Er­dem evening gowns and ba­si­cally any­thing that shows off her in­cred­i­ble legs. Be­tween her great taste and the suc­ces­sion of part­ner­ships she’s had with brands like Madewell, Marks & Spencer, AG Jeans and Eyeko, it would be easy to as­sume that Chung al­ready had her own fash­ion la­bel. So what took this Chanel and Mul­berry muse so long? “In my mind, it’s a for­ever com­mit­ment,” says Chung over the phone from Lon­don. “I re­ally want to build some­thing that has longevity. When you’re faced with that idea in your head, it’s like mar­riage. I was like ‘Not yet! I’ve got cold feet.’” Chung ad­mits she also had zero de­sire to be a boss, so she held off on launch­ing her own line. But with a team that in­cludes Ed­win Bod­son (the for­mer head of ate­lier at Haider Ack­er­mann) as man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and an in­vest­ment from Peter Dubens, who’s backed cool Brit la­bels like Bella Freud, the tim­ing was fi­nally right. Her SeeNow-Buy-Now col­lec­tion de­buted in May and set the tone for what was to come: easy, wear­able pieces and ac­ces­sories priced some­where be­tween high street and de­signer (from about $100 to $1,000). While the first col­lec­tion was de­cid­edly fem­i­nine, Chung’s sopho­more ef­fort dives deeper into the mas­cu­line-fem­i­nine aes­thetic that she has come to epit­o­mize. “I worked with the de­sign team to es­tab­lish a point where we would do a men’s col­lec­tion and a women’s and then style them to­gether,” she ex­plains. There are ca­sual but­ton-downs along­side a retro track suit, de­mure midi-skirts, glam vel­vet dresses, a sweet ging­ham frock and play­ful graphic tees. The col­lec­tion is a re­flec­tion of her un­canny abil­ity to wear all kinds of styles and make them her own.

When it comes to long-term goals, the newly minted de­signer has two (for now): to con­tinue cre­at­ing wear­able clothes and, in­ter­est­ingly enough, to ap­peal to more ma­ture women, like Patti Smith and Lauren Hut­ton. And while she doesn’t as­pire to em­u­late a par­tic­u­lar busi­ness model, she does have im­mense re­spect for Stella McCart­ney: “Her brand is so clear—she’s never used leather, she’s con­scious about sus­tain­abil­ity and she’s built this amaz­ing em­pire.” Even if peo­ple are put off by Alexa Chung the street-style sen­sa­tion, she in­sists you don’t have to be a fan of hers to like the brand. “The way I dress and my style is a re­flec­tion of my per­sonal taste,” she says. “Ev­ery­thing you like, from in­te­rior de­sign to mu­sic to film to art, is re­flected in the way you choose clothes and how you want to be rep­re­sented. But I hope I’m not a self­ish de­signer.”

And she knows the stakes are higher now. “It’s a much scarier op­tion to put so much stock be­hind your­self,” says Chung be­fore ad­ding: “I rel­ish this chal­lenge. There’s no run­ning away.” Not even with legs like hers.

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