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