Alexa Chung, who has been revered for her sartorial prowess since her T4 presenting days, is often associated with the markers of prettiness and hyper-femininity. She chose to depart from the Peter Pan collars and schoolgirl pinafores aesthetic this season, her second time showing on-schedule at London Fashion Week.
"I haven’t been interested in prettiness for a long time, and the world doesn’t look saccharine and innocent to me anymore," the creative director of her eponymous label Alexachung wrote in the show notes. With Brexit looming large and the divisive politics of the US today, it seems like Alexa’s girl has uprooted to a far more idyllic place. For AW19, she’s 'Off The Grid', where a "gaggle of women have retreated...regrouping and plotting."
Taking inspiration from California’s West Coast – "an enticing well-trodden path for creative respite and a disconcertingly vast space to ponder" – the show’s set reimagined the venue’s pillars as "looming redwood trees" covered in moss, earth and crawling vines. Alexa’s woman has grown up, too. Gone are the hints of youthful femininity, in their place a structured and protective layer of leather, knitted wool and reflective silk. "There’s a toughness to the collection, but it’s more about resilience than it is aggression."
Hallmarks of Chung’s vision are still present (which will please both her longtime fans and her legion of new followers): country-bound prairie dresses, platform heels and exaggerated lapels on suits. An unexpected but strong collaboration with Sunglass Hut also featured, with blacked-out sunnies in '70s shapes.
And if you're wondering about the direction Alexa will take next season, it seems there is great hope ahead: "Deep beneath the soil in an underground bunker a new form of beauty is preparing to grow up and out like a virulent weed. We won’t be off the grid for long."