Last September, after years of appearances on the front row of London Fashion Week (and on the catwalk as a model), Alexa Chung held the first ever catwalk show for her eponymous clothing brand.
The show and collection – which was themed around travel – were heralded a great success, so how would the style star follow her knockout debut?
We found out today when Chung presented her AW19 collection, titled Off the Grid.
“Deep beneath the soil in an underground bunker a new form of beauty is preparing to grow up and out,” read a cryptic quote on the invitation, and the show was indeed staged below ground, in a huge concrete basement in London’s King’s Cross.
As guests filed in, a soundtrack of birdsong played and the natural theme was underscored by huge mounds of moss and foliage at the base of three pillars that lined the runway.
If last season was all about flights of fancy, for autumn Chung was in the mood for hibernation and taking cover.
“I haven’t been interested in prettiness for a long time, and the world doesn’t seem saccharine and innocent to me anymore,” she explained in the show notes.
“So here we are with ‘Off The Grid’ – a gaggle of women have retreated, but there’s safety in numbers.
“They’re regrouping and plotting somewhere on the West Coast where nature is so beautiful and big it’s almost threatening.”
That meant a focus on sturdy outerwear with mannish herringbone wool and faux fur overcoats, a thick blanket wrap and several black wet-look leather jackets (shiny coats have become something of a signature for Chung).
Tailoring also came in touchable textures (a forest green cord trouser suit and a mustard check miniskirt suit were standouts) while ruffle necked blouses and pinafore dresses in midi and maxi length were styled over black ribbed roll-neck tops and Falke tights.
But it was the Seventies-style prairie dresses were the real stars of the show (Chung was wearing one herself when came out to applause after the show). In black and cream with floaty hems and ruffle details, we predict these will be the big hits when the collection goes on sale.
Aside from a pair of black dresses at the end, there was very little skin on show throughout – this collection was clearly about women dressing for themselves, not for anyone else.
It’s an approach that seems to be working as Chung continues on her journey from front row clothes horse to fully-fledged designer – no wonder she’s feeling empowered and part of a rebellious collective.
Indeed, they may be hibernating now but these women aren’t hiding – far from it. As Chung puts: “We won’t be off the grid for long.”
- Press Association