Report by Julia Robson
“Friends in New York say, ‘Alexa, you are so English!’” ’fessed Alexa Chung at the launch of her new Marks & Spencer collaboration.
Though no stranger to putting her face to high-profile brands, Chung (above) was hands-on with the project. The LFW ambassador travelled to Leeds, the birthplace of the British high-street bastion, where she sifted through 70,000-plus items to curate Archive by Alexa. “It was less about bringing in my personal demographic, and more about showing what appeals to my style and celebrating the qualities of M&S,” she said.
Each of the collection’s 31 pieces, rendered in modern fabrics, tells a story – and therefore deserved a name. “I Googled the most popular names from 1884, the year M&S started,” Chung explained. Genius. ‘Frances’, the classic trench she wore to the launch, is derived from a 50s gabardine heirloom; ‘Effie’, a pale-grey pleated skirt, hails from a 1985 school uniform; the pie-crust- collared ‘Edna’ shirt is a reworked 40s style; and ‘Hattie’ is a cami descended from a post-WWII slip.
This fashion marriage between two very British icons looks set to last: M&S Style Director Belinda Earl confided that a second collection will arrive in September.
Archive by Alexa launches on 13 April. marksandspencer.com