'I didn’t know what to wear’ admits Alexa Chung, looking typically low-key cool in the FROW at the House of Holland catwalk show, ‘but I’ve been inspired by spending the morning in bed, so I went for pyjama trousers - very on trend - and a cardigan because it gets cold – it’s England!’
Yes, it is England, and welcome home, Alexa. Today, Day 2 of London Fashion Week, The Chung is wearing a pair of white paisley print trousers, which she excitedly tells fellow FROWer Pixie Geldof are by ‘J.W.’ [J.W.Anderson], silver peep-toe shoes, and a buttoned up long grey cardigan across which a patent Chanel bag is casually slung. There’s also a genius selection of jewellery – a cameo necklace, featuring a silhouette, not of a lady but a devil, a random selection of rings and a crazy manicure featuring big blue eyes painted onto each nail.
Alexa is here partly to support her old friend (and former C4 “Frock Me” co-presenter), Henry Holland, but also in her new official capacity as British Fashion Council Young Style Ambassador.
‘Very fancy title!’ she agrees, obviously pleased. And it turns out it’s not her only fashion ambassadorship, ‘ I think British Fashion Council and Chanel [ambassadorships] are pretty good!’
So how does one become a fashion ambassador? ‘I don’t really know how Chanel came about’ she says with her usual self-effacement, ‘a gradual admiration for the brand… they couldn’t really get rid of me… so they thought they’d make it official’. She claims it was the same with the BFC; ‘as soon as I was allowed to go to shows in London I just tried to go to as many as I could and I think the role sort of evolved…’
There’s no doubt that, long before landing the BFC role, Chung has been a tireless campaigner for British designers, both here and in her new home in the US ‘when I’m in New York I try to wear a British brand and I’m really proud of the designers they have here’ she name-checks Christopher Kane, Erdem, J.W. Anderson and Peter Jensen as current favourites ‘that I really respect and think are great’. So what does it take for a designer’s pieces to make it into what is arguably currently the most-emulated wardrobe in the world? ‘They make clothes that I love wearing - they’ve got a sense of humour to them, and they’re not necessarily driven by commercial success or sexy vibes [she puts on a dorky voice]. It’s all just fun and creative so there’s a natural affinity, so I’m happy to support.’
And the new fancy title isn’t the only perk ‘it means I get to see new designers and get in there early’, and seeing how much that obviously excites her only goes to confirm that the BFC have chosen the perfect candidate for the role. That and the fact that Alexa has done practically every job in the fashion industry from writer (Vogue) to model (Lacoste, Pepe, DKNY jeans, Superga), designer (Madewell), muse (Mulberry, Charles Anastase), TV presenter/reporter (Frock Me, Thrift America, 24 Hour Catwalk) oh and ambassador (Chanel and BFC).
Alexa’s come a long way since working as a fit model for French Connection ‘my days were spent in a flesh-coloured thong. But trying on clothes, and buyers meetings -I think that was a good education for me , I think that taught me about what sells and I think modelling taught me loads [about fashion] without even realising it’.
So what fashion job would be left that she’d still like to do? ‘CEO’ she jokes. Can’t be long now…