COOL BRITANNIA: Alexa Chung channeled her love of music, humor and all things British into the launch event for her label’s third see-now-buy-now collection. The range, dubbed “Fantastic,” was inspired by Brit Pop, and Chung gathered a stylish group of friends at East London’s Moth Club to build the buzz around it.
“It’s an indie hot spot where new and existing bands perform and it’s got a good ambient vibe,” said Chung of the ex-servicemen’s members club. “We were trying to think of an appropriate venue, which reflected the musical element that inspired the collection. We also wanted to keep it quintessentially British and intimate and fun. This ticked all the boxes. It also has the potential for a riotous night.”
She added her own touches to the space in the form of a disco dance floor and plenty of gold tinsel. A secret room upstairs was transformed into a highly Instagrammable scene with bouncy balls and a bed covered with a British flag, where guests could lie down and have their photos taken — an homage to that famous Vanity Fair cover from the Nineties, featuring Liam Gallagher and Patsy Kensit.
Guests including Pixie Geldof, Henry Holland, Mary Charteris and Tallulah Harlech jumped — literally — at the chance to get a photo of themselves lying on the bed.
“We’re in the see-now-buy-now rhythm, so this is more of a celebration to mark the fact that the clothes are out and available. We want to host these events to showcase the clothes, but also for people to have fun, interact with our brand and understand the world and the narrative behind each collection,” Chung said.
She added that see-now-buy-now was always a natural approach. “I respect the way fashion moves and have always interacted with that structure, but for my company in particular, I wanted the clothes to be available as soon as people saw them because the customer that we appeal to is a woman who might not want to wait for six months after we’ve shown on a runway and on various celebrities. I wanted it to be readily available to everyone and more inclusive,” she said.
The new collection channels the tomboyish, laid-back attitude that Chung is known for, with pieces referencing all the fashion trends she said she used to fantasize about but was too young to adopt during the Brit Pop era.
“We started with icons of mine such as Jarvis Cocker, Damon Albarn from Blur or Justine Frischmann from Elastica. But also thinking back on Cool Britannia and a time when Britain was perhaps enjoying a state of being revered globally,” the designer added.
She layered casual T-shirts printed with slogans such as “Fantastic” or “Hardcore” over preppy ruffled shirts, paired delicate lace dresses with oversize knitwear and chunky lace-up boots, and revamped signatures such as the pinafore dress in romantic pastel hues, to create a mish-mash of colors and aesthetics characteristic of the British sensibility.
“I’ve always been a fan of humor and cheekiness, and that’s why I think our company is quintessentially British. We make classic silhouettes, but also I think there’s a vibrancy to this brand that is relayed through those silly slogan,” Chung added.
She pointed to the pink silk jacquard shirt she was wearing as a favorite piece and an example of how far the company has come: “When we first started, I wanted to use that silk but we couldn’t afford it. Now we can make it, so it was a learning process.”
Although building her own brand has created some inevitable challenges, it has also given Chung the chance to create a framework for all her different projects.
“One of the reasons why I started this business was because I wanted a more streamlined life and what this company offers me is an umbrella for all of those activities to live under. In a way, it’s a more focused endeavor; I know that I can’t take on too many extracurricular activities,” she said. “It’s literally like having a child. The difference before was that I didn’t have a child so I did whatever I wanted, but now I’ve got a kid and I’ll always think of what’s in their best interest before I take on any extra work.”
How would she like to see her child grow?
Chung said she’d “like it to stop breastfeeding,” and that she wants to work towards cementing a strong foundation for it: “I want to make sure that we’re serving the customer in the best way possible. Be it by improving our denim and making sure that we’re kind of responding to feedback, also just making e-commerce stronger and continuing to grow our other accounts worldwide.”