We sat down with British Vogue cover girl Alexa Chung at the launch of her fall 2010 collection for Madwell last night at the Bowery Hotel. Chung and Madewell design director Kin Ying Lee took us through the collection—Alexa-inspired railroad striped denim, velvet dresses with Peter Pan collars, striped pullovers, high-waisted stretch denim, stacked heel desert boots—and talked about one memorable leotard that didn't make the final cut:
How was it working together on the collection and how did you take on designing as partners?
Alexa: Well, I can't take credit for the hard work at all because I just took sketches in and talked about them. Kin was magical and made it all exist. It was good fun from my end. . . maybe not from hers. I drew really slightly rubbish drawings and then said, 'but can it have dots on it?'
Kin: The most important things is that the ideas are there. The great thing about Alexa is that she came with really solid and confident ideas. She has such a strong vision for what the collection should be, and we really embraced it and worked to develop it. I hope you can see it works and looks really great together.
A: It was cool because we all have the same style as well, so it wasn't like someone was going, 'no, I think we should do it in fucia instead'. We all liked the same references and we all like the same color palettes, so it was pretty easy.
How did it work combining your personal fashion philosophies with Madwell's style?
A: Luckily enough I think we all come from a really similar place, which is why it works so well. I quite like a laid back, eclectic mix of clothes and they make really classic, timeless pieces, so it was a good fit.
Is there something in particular you were dying to design?
A: I really wanted to make a perfect pair of jeans because I find it hard to find jeans that fit me. I have really weird proportions, and my legs are ridiculous. So I made high-waisted, washed out black ones. I also wanted to make dugarees, like dungaree dresses and dungaree shorts. And this coat I'm wearing. It's actually a bit weird to see everyone walking around in the clothes today because they all look like me. It's a very egotistical exercise.
Did you and Kin ever disagree on a particular piece?
A: There was one weird leotard—a denim thing—I tried to push on Kin. I was thinking in my head that I could make a stage outfit for a lead singer but it ended up looking like a weird circus child.
What's one fashion item you can't live without?
A: A navy blue pea coat
Any fashion week advice?
A: Carry flat shoes
How does it feel to be named fashion's favorite girl by British Vogue?
A: It's so flattering and really ridiculous actually.