After months and months of anticipation, last night Alexa Chung unveiled her debut eponymous collection, Alexachung, to an intimate audience of family, friends and fashion press, packed tightly together on pews in the beautiful Danish Church of Saint Katharine in London's Regents Park.
After a merry drinks reception in the church's flower-strewn back garden, evoking the quintessential English summer wedding, the crowd made its way into the church for the big reveal. "I wanted to hold the presentation somewhere that felt uplifting and celebratory and ultimately had a good vibe about it. I had been joking about marrying myself to this brand, which is where the wedding concept came from. I wanted it to feel ceremonial, to bring a sense of occasion to the unveiling of the collection. It’s been a long journey to get to this day and I was so happy to be able to share it with all my close friends and family along with my peers from the fashion industry who I have admired along the way,” Chung explained in a press statement. And though this may not have been a typical fashion show (taking place separately from the traditional fashion week schedule), Chung still pulled in fashion's heavyweights, with Natalie Massenet, Business of Fashion's Imran Amed and fellow designers Henry Holland, Molly Goddard and Shrimps' Hannah Weiland all jostling for space on the crowded church seats.
Capital Children’s Choir, just visible in the gallery (boy, were they cute!), sang "Good Vibrations" as the first model confidently strode down the aisle in a jumper emblazoned with the words 'Screw You'. Inspired by a kaleidoscope of Chung’s personal style influencers, from Jane Birkin to David Bowie, there were crochet twinsets and denim dungarees, leather pinafores and printed tees, covetable corduroy, floral tiered dresses and plenty of ruffles. A Brian Jones-inspired candy stripe suit followed a Charles Jeffrey-illustrated jacquard silk cheongsam, and pinafore dress in lilac PVC, offering an expressive combination of racy and rock ‘n’ roll with elegant tailoring, and classic silhouettes.
"I had this idea to make a miniskirt suit that would be our own classic, sort of like a Chanel suit, in trench fabric that would become an Alexachung staple. It’s more of a trend thing now, and probably won’t carry on to the next season. Though who knows; maybe we’ll carry it in another fabric down the line. We’re allowing ourselves the time to see what emerges as our cornerstone pieces. The whole line is pretty wardrobe-y anyway, and very wearable. We worked on the summer dresses and the hooded tee dress a fair bit,” Chung explained to Refinery29.
With over 150 pieces, priced from £85-£1,500, Chung will create four in-season collections a year, available from select retailers including Selfridges, Net-A-Porter, Matches and Mytheresa. "The first season is a sort of ‘getting to know you’ collection, and it gets more directional as we move along and I really took the reins more. For a while I was like, ‘I’m still floating between New York and London, It girl-ing around,’ and by season three I was locked in, just saying, ‘Oh shit, I’m here, working from 8 ’till 8, baby.’”
It was evident from the attention to detail throughout the collection, from cut to the quality of the fabric, that this was far more than just another celebrity-endorsed line. And judging from the reaction of the audience as the show drew to a close (pink confetti fell from the ceiling as the children's choir sang Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit"), the rapturous applause which filled the church and the excitable hubbub of people already discussing what they wanted to buy, you'd better place your orders quickly.