You’ll need approximately one hour to get from cover to pink cover, in fact. I know, I know, it’s hardly meant to be Pulitzer worthy literature – it’s a coffee table book. But oh my word, considering the frustratingly large amount of money she’s no doubt been given for sharing her covetable secrets, I’d expect more writing than essentially two sides of A4.
It’s actually quite a large book. But unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your reading preferences) it’s comprised mostly of intimate photos of Chung and friends doing cool person things like smoking, photo-boothing and ironic karaoke. Intermittently you get a few stories about Alexa’s childhood, adolescence, modelling days…and a few is not an understatement.
Given her cult status, this really could have been a golden opportunity to show us just how such a stylish mind works. Instead, Alexa chooses the ‘everyman’ approach: I’m just like you! I’m messy! I don’t plan what I’m going to wear! I don’t like the hairdressers! I have to take forty selfies to get one that’s decent! And this approach would be all well and good, if it wasn’t juxtaposed with such helpful how-to’s as ‘what to do when you find yourself on the FROW at New York Fashion Week and Anna Wintour is next to you’. THANKS ALEXA, THAT’LL BE SO USEFUL FOR ME IN THE FUTURE.
The tone of the book yo-yos between bewilderment at her success – as if fame is still a big surprise – and carefully calculated analysis of fashion identity. She spends a fair while (which here means, a few sentences) explaining how she ‘references’ ultra-hipster retro movies and bands in what she wears and how she does her make-up. Nothing is news here; I could have told you she favours winged eyeliner and idolises Mick Jagger. It’s all a bit Alexa-by-numbers.
I found myself not really caring. Chung pretty much invented the loafer-wearing, shaggy-haired, gamine NME groupie look, so you can’t blame her for seeming so ‘mainstream’ nowadays, but she still comes off as cringe-worthily hipster throughout this tome. And while It may not be destined for the Man Booker Prize, I have to admit that after devouring her first literary effort I still want to be her friend – heck, I still want to be her. And so do countless other Chungophiles. But why wouldn’t we? She’s Alexa Chung: Chanel muse, Vogue columnist and bonafide It girl.
It by Alexa Chung is out now, RRP £16.99. Get it on Amazon.