Alexa Chung’s departure lounge style
London’s first big debut this season was Alex Chung, the It Girl, TV compere and model, who staged the first runway season of her eponymous label in Bloomsbury on a sunny Saturday morning.
Add character in a film satire to Chung’s list of roles, since the famous British comic Steve Coogan appeared at this show with a camera crew in tow. He claimed to be shooting a spoof movie of high street retailing wars entitled Greed.
“I’m here to ink a deal with Alexa – a personal friend – to create a capsule collection for our booming chain Monda,” explained Coogan, in character playing his garmento role, just before the first cast members appeared on the runway – or make that retro business lounge.
Named "Arrivals Departures", this spring-summer 2019 collection was inspired by the idea of women arriving in “incongruous destinations, Inverness to Tokyo, Dublin to Athens and Bristol to Parma.” While the set was an elaborate maze of varnished plywood passages, like an airport eccentrically constructed over several decades.
The clothes themselves were some very fine merchandise, though unlikely to have much influence in the fashion zeitgeist. That said, Chung has great personal style, and that is reflected in her collections. Many of the cast felt like young sisters of Alexa, and all the better for that.
Her signature piece is the mannish, double-breasted blazer cut short, a staple that she nonetheless breathes new life into with a smart choice of fabrics and exact cutting.
Though the heart of the matter were her dresses, whether chinoiserie style in biscuit-hued silk, or more nocturnal naughty, done in green paisley jacquards, and cut with side slits.
“Bianca Jagger coming down some steps in a safari suit, and all those rock-stars of the 70s,” the designer described as her inspiration.
On a balmy fall day in the UK capital, Alexa also showed lots of trenches; ultimately the staple of every English gal’s wardrobe, in suggestive black or demure PVC. Chung has something for everyone. No wonder her label sells in several hundred boutiques worldwide.
Chung also has a smart deal with Italian sneaker brand Superga, which this season referenced seaside towns like Margate, where she went for vintage research. Which for the uninitiated is the least sophisticated resort in the UK.
And she even had some dresses in destination prints that looked Parisian but contained postcards from Bognor Regis and Brighton, where that city’s wee tower somehow managed to look like the one made by Monsieur Eiffel.
“I wanted to do a show because even though it was a challenge and quite an intimidating decision I was quite adamant that people take our brand seriously and understand that I have aspirations for longevity for this thing and that it is not another collaboration that is going to disappear,” said this 34-year-old Anglo-Chinese beauty of her two-year-old business. And, after this professional display of highly wearable clothes, longevity is all we expect from the house of Alexa Chung.
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