We Interviewed the Boss
About London, the home of the brand
We Interviewed the Boss
About London, the home of the brand
by Team AC
So, here we are at ALEXACHUNG HQ. If you don’t know who we are, we are the office lot who work day-in day-out with our company’s namesake, that’s right, Alexa Chung. Maybe you’ve heard of her. As our new collection London has launched, we wanted to take a moment to sit down with the boss, and grill her with some (15 to be exact) questions about this city we call home.
Morning Alexa. Right then, let’s not pull any punches here and get right to it with some hard-hitting questions…
1. How are you today? You alright?
I’m good thanks. Was quaffing wine at Lancaster House last night to save some elephants so feeling mildly hungover in a kind of enjoyable way. Fuzzy edges.
Enjoyable and fuzzy, good to hear. Moving on, we want to ask you about this great city that inspired our new collection...
Now, you’re not originally from London (there are in fact few people who can claim to be born and bred Londoner these days).
2. When did you first move here and what drew you to the big lights of the city? Was it the air pollution?
Pollution, and a sense that I wanted to be at the epicentre of What Was Happening. I was addicted to MTV2 when I was growing up in Hampshire, so a combo of that and staring at the same field for 18 years really made me want to rush to London to find The Libertines or something.
The Libertines, circa 2002, courtesy of Redferns
3. When you exchanged views of Hampshire fields for London Fields, how would you describe the style of the capital’s inhabitants? Did you observe any particular style tribes in particular areas?
Denim used to dominate the conversation I recall. I was modelling when I first moved here and it was the start of skinny jeans and they were almost impossible to find. All the models would be on this never-ending pilgrimage to source some. Miss Sixty did a low-cut flare, but for truly skinny jeans you had to scour the shops endlessly. Then Sass & Bide came along in the mid-Noughties and everyone was sorted.
4. Have you ever been thrown out of a pub, or been with someone who has? Just curious.
I literally have. I was thrown out for taking my drink outside. It was a misunderstanding because when I moved to New York (I ended up staying for 7 years) one of the things I would gloat about was how back home in the UK there were less puritanical rules and one example I would give was that people didn’t bark at you if you took a drink outside. Anyway, egg on my face because I was banned from a pub for doing it / answering back.
5. What would you do if you were the Mayor of London for the day?
I really wouldn’t want that job. I know people say “I’d make taxis free” and stuff but think of the hellish admin and responsibility. If I was Mayor though, I would be quite up for trying on the Mayor outfit? I presume it’s a red cloak and huge necklace still?
We’ll look into it. Sounds about right though.
Confirmed. this is a traditional Lord Mayor's robe.
6. Even when it comes to its Mayors, London is a leader in style, and has been throughout the ages (possibly not middle ages, we couldn’t be certain without further research), is there a decade or year that you would go back to JUST for the clothes?
Mid 90s Topshop was really fantastic. They were absolutely nailing it and the music was great, the one in Oxford Circus was as close to being in a club as a 13-year-old could get. Thumping songs, huge screens, perfect fleeces, strappy tops and platforms. It was circa 1996 when the nineties loved the sixties. I’d like to visit that time as an adult.
Topshop in the 90s
7. We’ll try and sort it (note to selves - look into making that time machine). On that note, is there a London club/bar/restaurant/venue (delete as applicable) from ye olden days that you would like to bring back?
Hawley Arms before it burnt down was really a thing. Amy would be playing darts in the Kitchen, Razorlight arguing on the roof and just lord going on. I think probably all the indie nights I would like to resurrect like the one on Brewer Street. What’s it called?
8. Name one thing you would change about London, if anything?
I would take everyone from West London to East London because so often when I say I live there they say they haven’t ever been.
9. If you could live and have free reign in any London building for a day, which one would it be?
Bucky P obvs.
(Translation: Buckingham Palace)
10. What part of London have you missed most during the pandemic?
I missed pubs. I really missed casual drinking without having booking for six people in advance. We were saying the other day, it’s like those ‘Tier 3’ mates you don’t really know that well but run into at the pub that I actually missed the most. LOL
11. Speaking of the pandemic, you designed this collection during a lockdown, how did you draw inspiration from the city to inform this collection?
I was thinking about my neighbourhood this place that has evolved and survived over time. There’s dodgy building rebuilt to cover where the bombs dropped in the war, food markets where people have congregated since forever, people in the most inventive outfits waiting at a bus stop in something amazing. I just found the idea of designing for my fellow Londoners past and present inspiring.
12. Who, dead or alive, do you consider to be the ULTIMATE Londoner, and why?
Phil Mitchell from Eastenders. And then hmmmmm I will have to think on…
(For international readers, Eastenders is a long running soap that is part of our national culture. Phil Mitchell is/was -we don’t watch it so not sure if he’s still in it – a lead character. We’re sure he’s got a Wiki page).
Phil Mitchell, a fictional character but nonetheless the ultimate Londoner
13. One famous Londoner, Virginia Woolf ,once said that ‘to walk alone in London is the greatest rest’. Where is best to walk in London for you?
Wow I feel like a lot has changed since Virginia said that... I love the Japanese garden in Holland Park and the Italian gardens in Hyde Park. Dreamy. Actually, anywhere in Hyde Park it’s so vast! Good for a proper leg stretch. I love walking around Soho too because I know the streets off by heart from when I was modelling (pre-Sat Nav).
14. Is there an area or place in London you haven’t been to but want to visit?
What’s Crystal Palace like? Is it nice? I feel like maybe it’s really nice.
We can confirm - it’s really nice. They have life-size models of dinosaurs that were installed in the 1850s. Not sure why tho.
Crystal Palace Park Dinosaurs
Pub Garden or Kew Gardens
Yeah, we thought as much.
East or West?
Best place to eat?
River Cafe, Rochelle School, Tow Path, Campania, Chakra in west London. Scotts!
Bingo or karaoke?
Karaoke. I like bingo a lot though.
A pie or a pint?
Hate beer. Not so keen on pies either.
**We frantically start re-writing our proposal for the office summer party**
16. Finally, what is the most random fact you know about London?
That it is illegal to wear a suit of armour in the Houses of Parliament. I’ll have to find another occasion to get mine out of the wardrobe.