Saturday, 28 September 2013
Book Review: It
As I'm sure was the case for many young adult females, ubiquitous style icon Alexa Chung's coveted new book It dropped through my letterbox a few days ago. The rather ambiguous title seems to be referring to how Chung became an "It" girl, although she has the modesty not to state this in the book. Instead, she seems to infer it through the mood board-esque mishmash of doodles, polaroids and musings that the book is comprised of. I must admit, the relevance of some of the captionless photos is slightly questionable (the trolley full of pumpkins, for example), but I suppose they all reflect the little aspects of her character that make her It.
In my mind (and the mind of most other 18-30 women), Alexa Chung absolutely epitomises cool in terms of the clothes she wears: she consistently manages to perfect a preppy, slightly androgynous getup that always looks effortless. Unfortunately though, as she points out, "Looking effortless takes a lot of effort". The book is scattered with her own style inspirations, most of whom seem to be the It girls of the 60s: Jane Birkin, Twiggy, Charlotte Rampling.. and George Harrison. The latter is perhaps a slightly odd source of sartorial inspiration for a 21st century woman, but Chung stresses the importance of alluding to, not copying, these inspirations: "rather than literally ripping off a look and seeming as though I'm in fancy dress as a particular character, I manage to incorporate certain styles into my wardrobe in a more subtle way". Although this is by no means a definitive guide of how to dress like Alexa Chung, you definitely get a sense of what underpins her style in terms of her inspirations and her staple pieces. She also discusses what sparked her love for her signature cat-eye eyeliner and how she achieves her effortless bedhead hair.
What I was pleasantly surprised by was Chung as a character as opposed to just a style icon. I knew very little about her as a person before I read It but it seems that she possesses a personality equally as cool as her dress sense. She's not too worried about being cool though - she confesses to her love for for karaoke and says that "the more cheesy and awful the song is, the better". Her witty, dry sense of humour really comes across in her writing which is often tongue-in-cheek. Case in point: she includes an instructional guide on how to take the perfect selfie. She also touches on more personal issues such as heartbreak and musings from her childhood which is nice as they give some insight into her life and show that she also has to deal with the crappy things in life that the rest of us do! She discusses other extensions of her personality such as her eclectic taste in music and how the Spice Girls introduced her to the concept of feminism - I had no idea that she was a feminist so that made me pretty happy.
All in all, I think it's a fun, enjoyable read which I would definitely keep on my coffee table if I lived in a glamorous apartment in New York. If you are interested in Alexa Chung as an entity or as a style icon, it's definitely worth picking up.
Have any of you read It? (Ha ha.)