After ending her engagement to Arctic Monkeys lead singer Alex Turner last summer, Brit MTV presenter and fashion It girl Alexa Chung is finding romance with another uber-cool rocker, the Strokes’ guitarist, Albert Hammond Jr. Sources say the hip pair were spotted at a private dinner party for English fashion brand Mulberry at Crown on Friday night. “Alexa and Albert arrived together and left together,” said a spy, who added that the couple seemed determined to stay low-profile. “They were adamant that they were not to be in any pictures together,” our source added. Her rep said they are “just friends.” Hammond had a tumultuous on/off relationship with British model Agyness Deyn. Chung and Turner had reportedly lived together in Williamsburg. Chung shot down rumors that she was dating Harry Styles of One Direction on Twitter earlier this year. She tweeted that she was attending the Met Ball last night with another hot rocker, Jack White’s ex-wife, Karen Elson.
Irrelavant note: there has been too many lovers recently and now I’m simply confused haha
Alexa Chung has recalled being told she did “looking like a man really well”.
The British model is one of 100 people photographed by Karl Lagerfeld and Carine Roitfeld for an upcoming Chanel book celebrating the iconic black Chanel jacket.
She says her tomboy style credentials were cemented, when she was singled out to pose in a variety of manly shots.
“I turned up to the shoot and there was Kirsten Dunst and Dakota Fanning getting made up and looking like some kind of goddess who had fallen to earth, and Carine said to me, ‘OK Alexa, I want you to look like a man, because that is what you do really well,” she quipped in an interview with the UK edition of Grazia magazine.
“I had to sit beside those angels while [Chanel make-up artist] Peter Philips painted a beard and a unibrow on me. I managed to make him take the beard off, but I still had Noel Gallagher eyebrows.”
The 28-year-old British beauty has effortlessly edgy style. Alexa tries to brush off criticism regarding her wardrobe choices.
“I don’t plan outfits in advance,” she said.
“I got loads of flak off Twitter because I wore dungarees out in New York. People said I looked like sh*t. I’d been having a night in and was asked to a gig. So I put a coat on and went.”
The model currently has her hands full working for the Superga ad campaign, modelling for DKNY, Lacoste and Pepe, writing for fashion magazines and fronting TV shows.
‘Is that Alexa Chung on the catwalk?!’ someone whispered at today’s Topshop Unique show. A slender brunette with slightly scruffy, centre-parted hair, cat-winged eyeliner and killer cheekbones strutted towards us swathed in a luxe boiler suit of black silk velvet. But no, sillies, it’s not Alexa. It’s a model working a gorgeous piece from the Autumn Winter 2012 collection, although the similarity was undeniable. In fact, the buttoned-up shirt dresses, pajama silk shirts and bulky coats that followed could easily have stepped out of Chung’s most covetable of wardrobes.
Meanwhile, Alexa was actually sitting on the front row eyeing up the catwalk offerings inbetween Olivia Palermo and Pixie Geldof. She looked typically-understated-but-devastatingly-cool in an ivory blouse with ruffled collar tucked into a pair of flared jeans under a navy blue coat, accessorised with a colour-popping Loewe Belen bag and blue ballet pumps. Thank goodness she didn’t chose to wear a black jumpsuit this morning, or things could’ve got very confusing.
‘I thought that was my idea!’ Alexa trilled when Grazia Daily asked what she made of Topshop’s eveningwear jumpsuit. ‘The girl wearing it did look like me…and she had my eyeliner. And my parka jacket!’
Us mere mortals can only dream of inspiring an entire collection, but surely Alexa is used to seeing copy-cats everywhere she goes. ‘It makes it easy for me because I can imagine what I’m going to look like in them.’ Well, that’s handy.
Of course, we couldn’t resist asking about that fabulous Stella McCartney party last night. As you’ve seen from the pictures we tweeted last night, Alexa bravely volunteered to be hypnotised by a magician during the gob-smacking extravaganza. ‘I levitated and was on a bad of daggers. It was really good fun,’ she confessed. But wasn’t that err, slightly nerve-wracking? ‘I was pretty scared before, but nervous more that I had to perform in front of Anna Wintour and Rihanna.’ We might want her wardrobe, but we sure wouldn’t want to be in her shoes for that one…
With all of the hubub surrounding the official start to New York Fashion Week today, it’s easy to forget that the fashion crowd has seven more days of breathlessly rushing to shows, sprinting in fashionably impractical shoes and posing (or dodging) in front of the hordes of blogger photographers clustered around Lincoln Center. Everyone it seems has different tips or strategies for how to survive the madness but we’re not interested in what just everyone has to say — we want to hear from the pros! And who better than fashion darlings Alexa Chung and Derek Blasberg?
Catching up with the duo backstage at Lincoln Center after the Honor Show, they shared some sage advice with PAPERMAG about how to be a hit at Fashion Week.
What are your tips for surviving the madness of Fashion Week?
Alexa: Well I’m asked this every time and I never change the answer. My answer is just to drink water or something really lame.
Alexa: I’m not heeding my own advice. I’m gasping!
And what about tips on how to get from show-to-show?
Derek: Take the subway! That’s a good one.
Alexa: Yeah, take the subway.
Derek: And then people will think you’re street!
People make the mistake of taking cabs and cars—
Derek: Too much traffic!
Alexa: You should take the subway.
Derek: Stay underground!
Alexa: And, bring a mirror!
Derek: And a breath mint! Subway, mirror, breath mint, hydrate.
Alexa: And don’t lean forward so I can’t see the clothes!
What she’s going for: Quirk! “This is my Charlie Chaplin look-black trousers with suspenders and an Yves Saint Laurent shirt. Putting weird pieces of clothing together is what I’m good at.”
Friends and hanging out: “The pillow is so wrong it’s right, it’s so bad it’s good! I think my style can be like that at times. I got the pillow in New Orleans and as kitsch as it is, the sentiment written on it is so true.”
Her new show: “That’s me, mentoring a young designer.”
This is what Alexa’s shoe collection looks like: “I pick up one piece of clothing—often shoes—and let it lead me to the next, then the next, till I have an outfit. These shoes were all over my living room. Imagine the possibilities.”
The British beauty - who has a bag named after her by Mulberry - admits she is a big fan of Burberry chief Christopher Bailey because he didn’t “f**k up” when he took over the label and continues to do his own thing while remaining true to the brand.
She said: “Christopher Bailey is a really lovely and warm man.
“He’s also really smart. He’s injected this vibrant energy into an old brand while also staying true to its heritage. I mean, he didn’t f**k it up did he?
“I constantly wear a trench coat that he designed and I borrowed a beautiful teal silk dress for my new TV series. I always love attending the Burberry Prorsum shows during fashion week.”
She also loves the work of Alexander McQueen boss Sarah Burton, who famously created Duchess Catherine’s wedding gown for her marriage to Prince William last year.
Alexa added to UK’s Elle magazine: “Sarah is brilliant. She seamlessly slipped into her new role - and simultaneously created one of the most memorable dresses of our time.”
Alexa Chung is bemused by her position as a style icon and often feels she is “blagging it” in the fashion stakes.
Alexa Chung feels like she is “blagging it” in the fashion stakes.
The TV presenter - who won the public-voted British Style Award at the recent British Fashion Awards - feels bemused that she is regularly praised as a style icon but knows her status won’t last forever.
Alexa - who has just been named an ambassador for the British Fashion Council - said: “I feel like I’m blagging it, even now. On stage at the Fashion Awards, standing with the other winners who worked really hard to achieve their success, it was like I’d been given a prize for having a pretty face.
“Obviously it’s a window in time. I don’t think anyone can maintain this sort of spotlight - there’s always a new girl on the scene in fashion, another girl of the moment - and I’m certainly not going to be great forever. So while I’ve got it, it’s good to use it.”
The 28-year-old beauty also admits she doesn’t often notice if people copy her style.
She added in an interview with Britain’s Elle magazine: “I don’t ever presume that people have copied the way I dress.
“I comment that I like what someone’s wearing and then a friend will say, ‘What? Your outfit?’ and I realise that’s why I like it. My mum always points out girls who sort of look the same as me.”
Alexa Chung may be London’s sweetheart, but she’s a current American style star, and she’s been on a national tour promoting her new collection for Madewell. Last night, she supported a few other U.S. designers - Monica Botkier, Rebecca Minkoff, and Yeohlee Teng - as they debuted their own limited-edition shades at Sunglass Hut. We spoke with the model / TV host / designer about her manicure (and other stuff).
When your second Madewell collection debuted, you crashed their website. Apparently! Who knew that could even happen? But do you know, I couldn’t sleep the night before, because I was convinced it was going to be a disaster. I didn’t think anyone would buy it. I was thinking, you know, “Here we go, everyone’s going to realize in the morning that this is a bad idea.”
Even after your first collection? I mean, anything can happen once, but… You like it, though, right?
Yes, I love the lace top and the lace dress. Me too! I was worried those wouldn’t be different enough, but it seemed like aside from vintage, or super expensive labels, it’s really hard to find good lace.
Your dress tonight is Mary Katrantzou, a British designer. I just bought it yesterday.
You didn’t get it in London? No, I saw it at Opening Ceremony a few days ago, and I was like, “No Alexa, you don’t need another dress.” And then I was like, dreaming about it, so finally yesterday I just went back and bought it.
You have green nails. I do. I’m obsessed with them. I got them done by this woman and I don’t even know her salon name, I just know her Twitter name - it’s Naomi Nails NYC. She’s amazing - if you go on her Twitter she has, like, Harry Potter nails and Hello Kitty nails and all kinds of stuff. She’s brilliant.
Where are you going with those green nails?! I’m going to Paris for the shows!
See you at Chanel? Yes, Chanel and also YSL, Givenchy I think… I’m doing a special project at some of the shows. Maybe we shouldn’t talk about it just yet… —FARAN KRENTCIL
If you were anywhere near the Westfield Mall yesterday, then you know that a certain Miss Alexa Chung was in town to debut and celebrate her second collection for Madewell. As a doubled-up line snaked around the entrance—even well before the doors to the party opened—we caught up with the model-turned-VJ-turned-designer to chat about the term style icon, her upcoming reality show, palm tree obsessions, Peter Pan collar fatigue, and more. See it all below!
Your name always has the phrase “style icon” right alongside it. Is that weird to you? “It’s really weird, but very cool. I’m very much a cookie-cutter hipster. So, I feel a little bit bad about the fact that, essentially, I’m a hipster but I’m the only one that the rest of the world said, ‘Hey you’ve got really great style!’ But literally everyone in Williamsburg and East London has this. But you want to plunder this? Then that’s fine! I have always adored fashion and now I think [the label] is really cool. The mainstream is weird and people were really happy with things being mediocre [in fashion] and not really challenging anything. So, if my hipster style can influence people, that’s cool. I think [the style icon label] is a bit premature. But it has to do with the rise of blogs and the internet. It’s just a reflection of modern times. Historically the term was applied to women who were notorious for their style over decades and decades and they might be a bit older. So, to have such an immediate label on me was a bit intimidating, but also very flattering. And it’s just cool because I’m from the middle of the country in England. It’s hilarious. I’m still like ‘Oooh! I’m in London!’ I’m just from the country.”
You named one of the pieces in this collection the Jane Birkin dress. Whom else would you consider your style icons? “And there’s a Jean Shrimpton coat, too! In terms of an era, the ‘60s really nailed it for me. I think everyone looked beautiful then and my style icons tend to be from that time and decade. It’s a lot of band girlfriends, really. So, Anita Pallenberg, Marianne Faithful, and musicians in their own right like Françoise Hardy. More recently it’s been characters like Alice in Wonderland. And I don’t know any famous Victorians, but I collect old pictures that I find in flea markets. I’m always inspired by old photographs of people. It’s so much more romantic and people used to put so much effort into how they looked.”
Palm trees are all over your new collection. Why this symbol? “I really like palm trees and they seem exotic and cool to me since I’m from England. They’re sort of wrapped up in this fantasy world of L.A. and In-N-Out Burger. I also thought it’d be quite funny to introduce them in an autumn setting. I had a really cool palm tree necklace I got from Tiffany and it’s like a lucky charm, so I decided to plaster them all over really practical things…like pajamas and ice-skating dresses!”
Right! What’s with the ice-skating dress in the collection. Were you a skater? “No. I’m incredibly uncoordinated thanks to my gigantic limbs that don’t seem to move like I expect them to. But I just love that shape. I like a mini and I think it’s a quite easy piece to wear and I like jerseys and knits.”
It looks like you’ve also created a twist on the Peter Pan collar in this collection. The new version is a little bit more pointed. “Yes! Everyone’s plundered that Mary Quant thing. What happened was, before we started the design process I went to the offices and they showed me what was going to be in the Madewell store. And on their mood board there was a kind of ‘70s work woman/office gal thing going on. So, we played the collar down a bit, also because I was quite sick of seeing Peter Pan collars everywhere. I still love them, but wanted them to be less exaggerated and more wearable. It’s also me growing up and realizing not everyone wants to dress like a 5-year-old in the same way that I do.”
What can you tell us about the coat that’s inspired by those worn by garbage men? “It’s called a donkey jacket in England. But we called it the bin-man coat. They are exactly like this, actually. It’s interesting to me how a coat that’s so chic can come out of a job that’s associated with grime and hard work, but they’re also very practical. They are made of wool and the leather shoulders keep you dry. It’s almost like a naval thing. I like classic designs, so I just wanted to make it a little more narrow and feminine since the British version is really heavy and masculine.”
You also have a shirt featuring your ‘Serious Face’ sketch. What’s the story behind that? “I draw a lot and I have a sketch book that Madewell looked through and they thought that it was cool. It’s actually a sketch inspired by the daughter of John McClane in Die Hard 4.”
You’ve scrapped your PBS series Thrifting America, but you are doing a new show on Lifetime. Tell us about that and what else you have coming up. “It’s like a fashion reality show with a 24-hour catwalk. The designers have to design a collection in 24 hours and I’m the host! We’re filming now. Otherwise … since I was a model before any of this, I still sort of have this freelance brain where I’ve always got to make sure I have something coming up. And that sort of stressed me out. But now I think I’ve become more adult and I’m taking the time to tackle just the things that really believe in and really like. I’m heading to Paris Fashion Week to write for French Vogue. And then after that, I’ve been offered a radio show in England. But it’s really about working out where I want to live, as well. I’m in the East Village right now. So, we’ll see!”
Before habitually late Lindsay Lohan arrived at the Cynthia Rowley Spring 2012 show, all the other celebrities in attendance were patiently sitting in their front row seats. As we scanned the crowd, we came across none other than Brit It Girl, Madewell designer, and glittery Miu Miu boot-wearing Alexa Chung. Since we missed her on the celeb-filled Fashion’s Night Out , we briefly interrupted her friendly convo with writer/man-about-town Derek Blasberg for a quick chat.
Fashionista: So what brings you to the Cynthia Rowley show? Cynthia is a friend of mine and I’ve never been before. I was intrigued to see this collection and I just think she’s really funny and lovely and I’m here to support a friend.
Cynthia Rowley’s Glambulance has been going around town to fix any fashion emergencies and disasters during Fashion Week. What types have you ever experienced? I feel like fashion disasters aren’t the real ones and maybe I don’t see what can really go that wrong. It’s only as bad as clothes can get. No, I haven’t had any ripped crotch problems or sweat down my clothes. It’s usually all right.
So what’s your thought on those Fashion Police type features in the gossip magazines when people who, well, don’t truly understand fashion judge fashion? I think it’s good. I like it when I’ve made the worst dressed page in a gossip mag because it means it’s like the best dressed in another context. I don’t want to dress like everyone else, I’m quite happy.
This is kind of embarrassing, but whenever I go in for a haircut, I bring in a photo of you, but it never seems to work (yes, another straight-to-the-source hair question). How do you do it?
I guess….(pause, as Derek Blasberg interjects: “She’s a magic unicorn, it just happens”) I don’t know…it’s just different textures. It just lends itself to being messy and I try and do it neat and it just doesn’t work, so, if I had thicker, longer hair, I’m sure it would be shiny and neat, but…
So do you use any product? I don’t. I hate products.
Alexa Chung has become famous for how she looks, rather than her day job as a television personality. She’s got a unique thing going — a tomboy/schoolgirl pluckiness that miraculously manages to look chic and modern, rather than childlike. Not every woman can pull off a Peter Pan collar, knee socks and loafers, but that won’t stop hundreds of thousands from trying. The 28-year-old gives Kate Moss a run for her money as the British export women most want to dress like. Which is where her second collection for Madewell, the popular sister label to J.Crew, comes in. Like the first one, the series of cute, eccentric dresses and separates is largely modeled on Chung’s personal wardrobe.
How do you feel about the “It”-girl label?
At the beginning I was uncomfortable with it. I guess it’s my British way of being wary of celebration as it ultimately precedes a fall. Before, the “It”-girl scene meant people like Paris Hilton. But not anymore. Now, it’s a different vibe. People like Diane Kruger, Elle Fanning and myself. I like to think we wear clothes in an interesting way, and not necessarily have the emphasis on sex. It’s pretty cool.
How do you approach design for the Madewell collection?
I’m designing for myself, rather selfishly. I don’t have a vested interest to make a line that is commercially viable. They’re all clothes that you can chuck on. A lot of my girlfriends are in bands, so I thought about clothes that would look good on the tour bus, onstage and if they stopped for gas at the petrol station.
People are always dissecting your style, but how would you describe it?
I appreciate classic design, it’s classic for a reason — a shirt and blazer is practical, comfortable and never looks dated. Carven is a brand that very much does what I love, a mix of strict mistress and schoolgirl. It’s not overtly sexy, and when you wear it you feel attractive. I’m more inspired by what men wear, people like Keith Richards, Bryan Jones and The Beatles. If I wear a girlie party dress, I prefer wearing it with a briefcase and brogues, though I’m a bit bored of that right now. I sometimes wish I’d been a boy. The more I think about it, the more I think my tomboy side is what I use to assert the fact that I’m not a pushover. I guess I’d call it modern power-dressing.
How much time do you spend on what to wear each day?
The key is: I don’t spend time getting ready in the morning, but I do put a lot of thought into the things I buy. If you know what your style is, it doesn’t matter how you assemble things?— you can just mix and match and it will always look nice.
You split your time between NY and London. What are the biggest differences, in terms of fashion, between the two?
People in England are less afraid to take risks and don’t necessarily follow trends, but instigate them naturally. The British have this eccentric, enchanting and mad heritage. In New York, it’s more mixed and tamed. In England, people indulge in this madness; in the States, people would be like, “Oh my gosh, what is she wearing?!”
You have been a model, a TV presenter and a designer. Which role do you feel most comfortable with?
Before I was on TV, I went to art school; and if I hadn’t become a TV presenter, I would have done design of some sort. It’s more my scene and what I’m most comfortable doing. TV is not something I’m naturally good at, whereas when I’m sketching in the Madewell office, it feels natural and easy. In the U.K., everyone is saying, “Alexa is concentrating on her TV career” — but it’s not that. I need the money. I’m like everyone else, TV is my job. I don’t think of my new TV show as a big return and me trying to reinvigorate my career in the U.S. I make money from doing TV, so I have to do it. Anyway, I’m so hyperactive and such an attention-seeker that I need to do TV to fulfill my need and desire to be listened to. I need it to tire me out or I‘d go a bit nuts.