Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Things You Need To Know About "It" Alexa Chung's New Book, Out Today

"Alexa Chung’s signature look—an A-line dress paired with a flat shoe (usually in black or white) and topped off with a cat-eye-lined eye—makes a lot more sense when you find out that the fashion icon was once obsessed with Wednesday Addams and French New Wave muse Anna Karina. Although her trend-agnostic sense of style seems innate and effortless, the 29-year-old (like most of us), was once a young girl with more than a few sartorial missteps under her belt such as emulating the Spice Girls’s “sixties fashion in the nineties” wardrobe. In her new book It (Penguin), out today, the model/designer/TV host, shares her evolution through fashion, reflecting on everything from relationships to music. Part memoir, part how-to book, the tome is filled with personal photos and drawings, advice on what to pack for a music festival, and even the occasional piece of laugh-out-loud wisdom such as: “Boys say they don’t mind how you get your hair done. But then they leave you for someone with really great standard girl hair and the next thing you know you’re alone with a masculine crop crying into your granola.” We’re sure more than a few girls will have the pink cloth-bound book on their coffee tables or gift lists come the holiday season."
- Vogue (by Patricia Garcia)

Alexa Chung wrote this book in a series of emails to her editor while wearing a One Direction onesie. You probably couldn’t have guessed that by reading the book, but once you know you can see where the varied topics and whimsical tone come from. In contrast to other celebrity books, this one is less self-obsessed. There are 161 pictures (which is admittedly a lot for 192 pages) but most of them are of Chung’s celebrity friends, style crushes or doodles. Refreshingly, she even breaks that cardinal sin of the celebrity biography and does not pose on the front cover. This book has really very little structure at first glance, but on rereading you begin to understand that you’ve actually just been taken on a tour of Chung’s life from horse-riding pre-teen to “frow” favourite (“frow” is a fashion insider’s term for the front row at a fashion show), and been taught to how apply eyeliner along the way. Chung never admits she is an “It” girl as she documents her rise to the influential celebrity she is today, and there is a feeling throughout the book that she is apologising for her successes as if she does not believe she has quite made it. There is a lot that is childlike about Alexa Chung, and this might be the reason why she is such a refreshing It Girl. Her awkwardness comes across in her writing. You can tell she is cringing while writing about “How to take a selfie” and so she does it her way. The resulting text, as far as I can tell, is an honest account of how she hides behind the camera while posing in the mirror.
Those who are hoping to read the book to learn how to be an It Girl will be disappointed: I’m not sure Alexa knows how she got there herself. After working hard as a model from the age of 15, and then presenting on television (most famously on Popstars), Chung became known for “floating around and just going to parties”, which she says is exactly what she did not want to be known for. She now presents the music programme Fuse News in America and is designing an eye make-up range with the cult beauty brand Eyeko. Looking for ways to get the Alexa look? Our heroine can help you. Chung lists her style influences from Liv Tyler to Wednesday Addams from the Addams family, and proclaims how much she is inspired by someone she has often been compared to: Jane Birkin. But Chung’s first style crush was her grandfather: “Grandpa Kwan has serious style. On a typical day he would wear his thick tortoiseshell glasses, brown skinny cords and whatever the latest Nike trainers were. In fact, Grandpa Kwan was a fashion legend.”
The scrapbook-style journal is also surprisingly funny. Chung has a dry wit that pervades her prose and makes the book surprisingly readable. One of the sections you will find yourself flipping back to is “How to Get Dressed”, which gives us an insight into what goes on at Chung’s house before we see her street-style portraits all over the internet. I think, or hope, it is clear that this isn’t supposed to be a real guide: “Put it on, and this is crucial… look in the mirror.” But it is essentially what it would be like if you asked Alexa how she gets ready in the morning.
While Chung is obviously aware of how much of an icon she has become, she demonstrates how down to earth she is near the end of the book when she expresses her terror at being seated next to Anna Wintour on the frow: “The worst case was when I glanced to see ANNA WINTOUR and then spent a panicky five minutes prepping for her arrival.” Anyone who is an Alexa/Daisy/Pixie fan will love It. Anyone who knows nothing about her will be a bit confused. But she has a very clear audience in mind – hence the pink cover. Speaking in a newspaper interview, Chung said: “It is written for 15-year-olds, not old men reviewing it.” In other words, she doesn't take herself too seriously, and nor should you.
Telegraph UK (By Phoebe Parke)

"Alexa revealed that she used to be teased at school for her wardrobe choices. Yep, that's right—the designer darling who now tops every best-dressed list around used to be ridiculed for the very thing that's made her famous.
'One year, I was called 'purple girl' because I used to dress all in one color—I'd wear an entirely purple outfit one day, and then head-to-toe orange the next,' she says. Even though color-blocking is considered a fashion "do" nowadays, Alexa insists it hadn't quite caught on in 1998. "On top of it all, I was very gangly, with bony knees and big banana feet." But, she notes, figuring out your own personal style is difficult to do without years of experience. "Realizing what suits you takes time, so it's important to try everything and not worry about what people at school will say." So how did Alexa go from an awkward teen to an in-demand It girl? "Trial-and-error," she says. "I've made loads of mistakes, but it's OK because clothes aren't fundamentally serious—they're a way to express yourself and have fun." And if there's one thing Alexa's a pro at, it's having fun. "My advice is to take a look around you and indulge in whatever you're naturally drawn to."
- Teen Vogue (by Marianne Dabir)

It something I'm curious to read. It is by one of my favorite fashion icons. It has been on my mind since August. It is the book we're talking about today. There has been some pretty harsh criticism surrounding this, but today all I could find today was positive input on the book. It reminds me of a Pinterest board, collage, blog, or simply a scrapbook/diary of Alexa Chung's career, life, and tips.

From what I've seen, the entire book is a very artistic take on the typical biography. For one thing, Alexa chose not to pose for the front cover, (the first time I've seen a celebrity not show him/herself on the cover of any book of their writing) which is something unique in itself. More interesting still is the fascinatingly open way of writing, the ever so slightly awkward type of conveying oneself through words strung together to make sentences, making up whole paragraphs, chapters, and the book.