Retro wear­a­bil­ity evok­ing the limbo world of air­ports

Alexa Chung played it cool at her in­au­gu­ral LFW show

The Independent - - News / London Fashion Week - HAR­RIET HALL LIFE­STYLE EDITOR

There’s al­ways a slight ap­pre­hen­sion when a celebrity de­cides to make a foray into fash­ion. Ev­ery­one wants to be a de­signer these days. Last week saw Ri­hanna present the first show of her Fenty lin­gerie line and yes­ter­day saw Vic­to­ria Beck­ham cel­e­brates 10 years in the biz with her first London show. Rap­per Kanye West has been pre­sent­ing col­lec­tions since 2011.

When the per­son step­ping up to throw their hat in the ring has been an undis­puted trend-set­ter for go­ing

on a decade (her ef­fort­less, preppy Parisian style lead­ing to a Marks and Spencer col­lab­o­ra­tion, a Su­perga plim­soll col­lec­tion and a Mul­berry bag named af­ter her), that ap­pre­hen­sion turns to an­tic­i­pa­tion.

Model and pre­sen­ter Alexa Chung launched her name­sake la­bel in 2017, of­fer­ing her sig­na­ture style at de­signer price points, but yes­ter­day was the real first: it marked her ma­tric­u­la­tion into the of­fi­cial BFC London Fash­ion Week sched­ule as a de­signer, pre­sent­ing her first cat­walk show for spring/sum­mer 2019. A long time frow-er (front row fix­ture, that is) for count­less cat­walk shows her­self, Satur­day saw Chung work­ing back­stage tend­ing to mod­els and fi­nal­is­ing looks and while her own front row was pop­u­lated with her long-time crew of so­cialites and mod­els: Pixie Geldof, Daisy Lowe and even… Steve Coogan.

In­spired by the limbo world of air­port lounges and ar­rival gates, and the com­bi­na­tion of hol­i­day garb and ca­sual wear that peo­ple slip on to move through those spa­ces, the col­lec­tion en­ti­tled “Ar­rivals and De­par­tures” made the cat­walk a dif­fer­ent kind of run­way, as mod­els alighted from far-flung des­ti­na­tions via Chung’s fic­ti­tious travel com­pany “AC World Travel Inc” to a Clair de Lune score.

Dou­ble-breasted trouser suits, caped trench coats, cor­duroy pinafores worn over shirts, satin slip dresses and tick­ing jump­suits: each piece of the col­lec­tion looked as though Chung had picked it out of her ex­ist­ing wardrobe and added her own per­sonal twist to it. While perhaps not ground­break­ing and un­de­ni­ably safe, there’s some­thing com­fort­ing about know­ing a de­signer is show­ing clothes that we can trust they truly covet. It might sound trite, but ev­ery item in the show was un­de­ni­ably de­signed to be worn.

Tak­ing cues from the cur­rent street-style pre­dis­po­si­tion for Nineties and Seven­ties cuts, Chung com­bined bucket hats and Hawai­ian prints and pre­sented waist­coats and mus­tard-toned shirts, bring­ing the retro looks to the present. Yves Saint Lau­rent’s iconic Sa­fari col­lec­tion of 1967 was also heav­ily ref­er­enced through multi-pock­eted khaki jack­ets. Thir­ties-in­spired ruf­fled silk dresses added a Sofia Coppola air to the cat­walk and, in true Brit style, the 34-year-old de­signer was also sure to in­clude plenty of clothes for in­clement weather, in­clud­ing a no doubt sell-out patent black mac.

Shaving off any po­ten­tial whiff of pre­ten­tion with an in­jec­tion of that fa­mous Chung hu­mour, dresses that at first glance ap­peared to cel­e­brate the Eif­fel Tower and other now-cliche mo­tifs were – at closer look – in fact Brighton Pier, Bognor Regis and Skeg­ness. “I went to Mar­gate for some re­search and found some amaz­ing plim­solls there,” Chung said af­ter the show to fists full of dic­ta­phones.

‘Ar­rivals and De­par­tures’ turned the cat­walk into a dif­fer­ent kind of run­way (EPA)

Pieces looked as though they might have been plucked from Chung’s own wardrobe (EPA)

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