Alexa Chung oozes cool. After just a glance at the thousands of street style photos of her all over the internet, it's hard not to want to be the TV presenter turned model turned fashion designer's very best friend. In real life, wearing high-waisted jeans, an animal print blouse and chunky Superga sneakers, Chung is hilariously blunt, unapologetically herself and yes, ridiculously stylish.
After almost a decade of being labelled a British It girl, seamlessly flitting between the runway and roles on TV, in 2017, Chung launched her eponymous label, ALEXACHUNG. Despite now being a CEO, the 35-year-old says she's just as busy as she always has been. "I was always multi-tasking and doing various things. If anything, it’s just made my head a bit clearer because it’s all under one umbrella and we’re all working in one direction. It feels satisfying on a baseline level but the intense workload is the same," she explains.
Debuting her latest collection at London Fashion Week this season, the 34-year-old then headed Down Under for a whirlwind 40-hour trip to promote her second collaboration with Superga, where we meet on a sunny, Sydney afternoon. Naturally, we get straight to the fashion talk. "Having had the benefit of just coming off the back of summer in the UK, I can let you know large hats - large straw hats – are a big trend," Chung tells us, using her long arms to display how big said straw hats are. "Bike shorts under very sheer dresses [are also on trend]. In fact, colourful sheer dresses with big, black knickers or a swimsuit," she laughs. "Oh, also, swimming suits as workwear. So, a swimsuit and a pair of jeans... or large earrings."
When it comes to an item she thinks every woman should own, Chung goes practical. "I think every woman should have a pair of knickers," she quips. But in all seriousness? "Personally, I can’t do without a great pair of jeans. A great sweater, preferably a blue, cashmere one. Just one. It’s an investment piece. And then a pair of sneakers, obviously. A white t-shirt, I mean it’s great and it’s a classic."
After years in the fashion circuit, Chung knows a thing or two about fashion faux pas, saying that she used to try to wear trends because she saw others who looked good, but ultimately realised she had to be honest about what suited her. "Sometimes I think, ‘Oh I’d really love to wear a pair of cargo trousers’ but they just make me look bad and make me look too scrawny up top," she explains.
While you'd expect her to look to others sitting front row at London Fashion Week for fashion inspiration, Chung says she "kind of got overstimulated" by everyone attempting a similar style and has now turned to taking inspo from those on the street. "Old grandpas - they always have something cool going on. Or just the elderly, in general. They look really great and really pay themselves attention," she says, noting that due to all of her recent travel, pyjamas are actually her current favourite item.
Other than sleepwear, Chung says she can't go past a good jumpsuit. "I wear overalls a lot. Especially, I mean I know you’re coming into summer but even in London, in the winter, I love a jumpsuit."
On advice for those in a style rut, Chung says to head straight to the shower. "I think about my outfit in the shower because they say that water makes you psychic. So, I think if you are under running water you can be psychic about it and know what the day holds for you. I think all women suffer from that feeling – you might have just bought a top and still say ‘I’ve got nothing’. But have you tried emptying your cupboard out and rearranging your wardrobe? If you are doing a clear out, suddenly you’re like, ‘Oh no I love that thing’ and then it has a new light."
If your psychic abilities seem off, just grab a friend to test the water. "I just say to them, 'Can you hold my jacket please?' And they’re like, 'what?' But I want to see if I’m jealous of it when they have it."
And from top - large straw hats - to toe, Chung says ballet flats, ankle boots and sneakers (Superga, naturally) are her go-to. "I wear ballet flats a lot. But I’ve come to realise that they’re not for everyone. I didn’t know this and I made some in a past collection and then we went to Japan. We were assigning models and loads of them looked bad in ballet flats and I was like, 'this is really not a democratic shoe.' It was weird because these models are paid money to look good and at least twenty of them looked terrible. I thought, 'Oh my god, ballet shoes look shit on people, what’s going on?' For me, I like ballet shoes. I like an ankle boot, very much. I also like wearing Superga sneakers."