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"Maybe I'm a lasting celebrity. They'll just recycle me every ten years or so," jokes Alexa Chung, flashing that ironic English moxie that has made her so damn likeable over the years.
The 36-year-old style icon and I joke about the ever-changing fashion industry and its place in it. Unlike most stars, whose job titles are fairly simple (actress, singer, model), Chung is one of those unique institutions that have been famous for so long and for so many reasons that I never stopped thinking about what they originally were has made a household name. She is just Alexa Chung and has always been here, like the sun itself. She is like Carrie Bradshaw and meets Chloë Sevigny, but also something very special? Before our interview, Chungs publicist emailed me a long list of her suitable titles: global style icon, trendsetter, fashion designer, respected television personality, author. "We don't call her a model and never a DJ," added her spokesman with a wink. All I know is if you googled the phrase "It girls", a head shot of Chung and her shaggy, hickory brown bangs from her is the first result that appears.
When I think back, it was probably 2009 that Alexa Chung crossed my radar for the first time. At that point, she started moderating this cool MTV talk show It continues with Alexa Chung (although her career as a television presenter started long before in the UK). A few years later, she re-entered my worldview when I started practicing with fashion magazines in New York City and couldn't leaf through a best-dressed summary without seeing Chung's distinctive, vintage-centered style. ("Every day, half of my outfit is vintage," she tells me a decade later. "It's romantic; it's nostalgic. I'm a magician of old times.") Chung reappeared for me in 2015 when she played in British Voguedocumentaries The future of fashionand also in 2017 after the launch of their own clothing brand ALEXACHUNG (whose quirky, grandmotherly chic designs are available for purchase Net-a-Porter and Shopbop). Chung reappeared last year when a video from her clever Franglais YouTube series appeared in my recommended area. I thought, Huh, I haven't seen her a bitand clicked and expected to be distracted from the three-minute mark, as I usually do on YouTube. An hour later, I made seven Alexa Chung videos about French and American style, her androgynous hair routine, and an incredibly confident ASMR attempt with a stupid smile on my face. No matter how many years go by, Chung will find a way to hit the fashion industry everywhere.
Last year, the charismatic British girl booked her first TV appearance in years: co-hosting of the new reality competition series from Netflix Still in fashion Next Queer EyeTan France. A fresh version Project catwalkThe participants in the show are not newcomers to the industry, but working designers from around the world who have attended top fashion schools, given their skills to renowned brands, dressed A-listeners and are now trying to bring their careers into the household. Name level. Together, Chung and France take on the roles of Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn.
"I just couldn't believe they called me back to watch TV. It was so long ago," Chung says when I ask about the story of the story. "I'm like Bruce Willis in Die hard 3 When he's already retired and they say, 'We only need you for one last mission. & # 39; “It is said that Tan France was already occupied, and the network tossed names for its counterpart when Chung nudged him at a London Fashion Week party. "I was pretty drunk because my fashion show was the night before, so I let go. Tan came in and we were just talking, ”she says. Chung doesn't know who originally stood for the snake Still in fashion Gig, but after one and a half tipsy talks with France he was under the spell like the rest of us and called the producers to hire them.
“I spoke to the team and immediately became interested in the idea of the show. It just sounded so modern and fun, ”says Chung. It didn't hurt that she and France had chemistry with friends straight away. "I'm just thrilled to have found a new best buddy," she says of her co-star. "We didn't know each other before the show, but he has a place in my heart as one of my favorite people. As soon as he comes in, he says:" Hi, Chungy! "And I want to: aaaaggggh! Yes, I am very happy to know him. "The viewers also agree to the partnership." Alexa + Tan is the duo I never thought I needed "is one of the top comments Still in fashion'S Season 1 trailer.
As soon as she arrived on the set, Chung began to exceed expectations (which, I learn, is a recurring theme for her). She remembers, "When we started filming and I could read a cue card very well, everyone said," Wow, you're good at it "and I said," Guys, I started as a TV host. This is the only thing I can do technically, so keep my beer. "
Chung hasn't exactly hid from the camera lens since her MTV days. For a year and a half she has been writing, producing and playing in original videos for her YouTube channel. ("I'm fashionably late for this YouTube party," it says on her biography page.) Chung assures me that this was not a strategic step to remain social media relevant ("I don't even know what TikTok is "she said confesses) but an opportunity to create content on her own terms:" It's fun to be autonomous, you know? I have always worked with networks and producers. People with opinions. But I don't have a boss with YouTube. We can just do what we want. "
Chung's videos are less casual, unfiltered vlogs, and more engaging, well-designed short films. Some are trending (the tutorials, the ASMR), others are like mini documentaries. She goes behind the scenes to investigate how bespoke dresses are made for the Met Gala and Dior Haute Couture. In this way, Chung also uses her channel to learn more about the entire fashion industry. "As someone who didn't graduate from college, I use YouTube as a tool to explore," she says.
Chung's fashion line was also an exercise in learning at the workplace. You would never know from her resume with awards or a feeling of relaxed trust, but the creation of ALEXACHUNG has burdened the It-Girl with an attributable case of fraud syndrome. "In the beginning it was such an intimidating process and I had to rely heavily on my team," she says. “My uncertainty that I didn't train in Saint Martins [a prestigious fashion school] meant that I created clothes that could have been a little more daring me, ”Since the brand's impulses in 2017, Chung has slowly learned to take responsibility for their vision. "I'm not ashamed of my influences now," she says. "I just think, yes, I want to make David Bowie pants! Or whatever it is. I'm a little more proud of my perspective."
Chung describes her upcoming resort collection as a "psychedelic Easter party". She says she may have watched a little too much mad Men while dreaming the pieces. "I was thinking about how women jumped on Valium in the 1960s and seem to have everything, but still feel this discomfort," Chung explains. "I am very excited about the inspiration and my team has become really good at translating these ideas into something that actually makes sense." As creative director, Chung conceives the overall vision, while Prada-trained chief designer Silverio Boffelli takes care of the execution. "I'm obviously not at the end of my study trip," Chung adds. "But something I learned from it Still in fashion is that the designers who win in the end are the ones who really listen to their own voice. "
We couldn't help but ask who and what Chung predicts as "next in fashion" (outside of the Netflix show). First, she is confident that the sustainability movement will continue to take control. "I mean it's the only way forward," she says by name Jane Fonda (who recently gave up shopping) as one of her current fashion inspirations. Chung even hired a consultant to make her own line more environmentally conscious and to motivate her to think about things like the life cycle of a garment (prioritizing parts that will stay in a customer's wardrobe forever, as opposed to trendier disposable items) than more environmentally friendly Fabrics and materials (mushroom leather, seed packaging).
"We still have a long way to go," Chung says, adding that neither designers nor consumers need to be "militant" to make an impact. If everyone were perfectly sustainable in their clothing consumption, there would be no fashion, Chung would be unemployed and millions of people would feel noticeably emptier. "You are just doing the best you can, because at the same time, we would all be in one overall if we were all perfect," says Chung. “Fashion also has advantages. It brings a lot of joy. In this way you can express your identity. It plays an important role. "
To that end, Chung predicts that fashion itself will help blur the boundaries of gender, age, and even fame, thanks largely to social media. "Like Harry Styles who wears earrings and blouses at the Met Gala, or The 1975's Matty Healy who wears a dress and Dev Hynes who looks so great," she says. "I love how [designer] Simone Rocha takes older models into her shows. “Chung sees us as happy to live in the age of social media, which gives us the opportunity to get to know designers, looks and human experiences that we wouldn't otherwise see. (Of course, considering mental health, Chung also says she's no stranger to Instagram's mute button.)
Chung is a lesson in the longevity of his career and plays the long game. In comparison to previous years, she seems to be leading her professional life much more relaxed. (In 2013, she told the press that the printing of "it stays"It has caused her great distress.) Nowadays, Chung is simply interested in pursuing the projects that feel most authentic and then holding them out with balance (and that characteristic wink). "You have to try me on again in another 10 years," she smiles. "I'll be here and hanging out."
Photographer: Zackery Michael
Stylist: Danielle Goldberg
Hairdresser: Blake Erik
Makeup Artist: Charlotte Day with Charlotte Tilbury in the art department.