Alexa Chung: Global trendsetter. Muse. Fashionista and It Girl. With so many strings attached to her bow, the English model of Chinese descent can now add top ten bestselling author to her aptitudes. With much anticipated hype surrounding Chung’s debut book, expectations were high. Coinciding with the opening of London Fashion Week, September 2013, there was no better time for this book to be available to the public and to those who love everything Alexa – me included! Alexa is my girl crush and style icon. In fact, (and I whisper this…) I think I might actually prefer her clothes to her. Nevertheless, her debut book made it straight onto my birthday wish list and secured itself as the most coveted item.
In some ways, It is a fashionable purchase. Alexa is highly regarded within the fashion industry and has won the prestigious, public-voted, British Style Award for three years running now. Anything associated with her quickly becomes on trend and desired. The same can be said for her book. Bound in pink linen, this hardback is one chic book. However, I’m sorry to say that, this time, I did judge a book by its stylish cover and stylish author and I was somewhat disappointed. The book cover may just be the best thing about It.
Upon receiving the book, I read it almost straightaway. Not just because I’m a major fan of Alexa, but simply because there isn’t any other option as there isn’t a considerable amount to absorb and digest. Resembling more of a diary than a book, it features a collage of Chung’s short musings about life, succinct style inspirations, fleeting collections of her thoughts as well as her own drawings and photographs of really cool people. In a way, it bears a resemblance to the Tumblr blog of a vintage-loving hipster. Alexa is said to be the British 21st Century It Girl. But it begs the question, “What even is ‘It’?!” I was hoping her book might answer this.
Sadly, it didn’t.
Instead, the whole book features quite light matter, of no real depth or substance. Offering sartorial advice such as “Look in a mirror before you leave the house” and “Make your Converse look more worn by adding mud to them”, it doesn’t really offer the extensive insight into Alexa’s fashionable and desirable life that I was hoping for. Instead it has been criticised for being quite frivolous, quite egotistic and quite like an enhanced Instagram selfie.
Considered an inspiration to a generation of girls, there’s no denying that Alexa has what it takes to sell fashion. She is also often at the epicentre of the Size Zero debate with much discussion arising from her own body shape, questioning her role model status. However, that is a different matter altogether. With ‘It’ more of a scrapbook than anything else, I just think it could have done with a little bit more of the real Alexa. On the whole, I was just expecting so much more from this book. I simply wanted more of ‘It’ and more for my birthday money.
Conversely, there are some undeniably beautiful, quirky photos to look at and it’s great to pick up in times of inspiration and creativeness. Perhaps that was all Alexa wanted to achieve. Having said that, the section concerning dating and heartbreak was a highlight. It was droll, the Alexa kind of funny, and just made her seem more relatable and more down to earth – despite the fact she has a Mulberry handbag named after her. Aside from the negative stance surrounding ‘It’, some segments are fun are clearly meant to be taken in a tongue-in-cheek manner. Alexa is not one to take herself seriously and neither does her book.
There’s nothing really wrong with ‘It’, purely because there is very little within it. If you love fashion and you love Alexa, I say read it. It’ll look pretty on your bookshelf or coffee table if nothing else. There are moments when Alexa’s dry, witty personality emerges and those instants are worth waiting for. I still like Alexa, I do, but if I’m honest, I don’t think she should give up on the day job of being ‘It.’
Whatever ‘It’ is, I don’t think ‘It’ equals author extraordinaire for Alexa. Chung is reported to have said that she composed the book via emails to her editor because she doesn’t have Microsoft Word. I’ll commend her for that. How on earth does anyone in this day and age not have Word installed on their laptop?! I predict another trend emerging… *uninstalls Microsoft Word immediately*
Article by Rebekah Holroyd