We Speak to Alice Levine on Fashion's Guiltiest Pleasures
Alice Levine is a busy woman. You might know her as a BBC Radio 1 DJ with impeccable taste in music. Then again, you could also know her from her work as part of Jackson & Levine, the supper club she runs with pal and fellow presenter Laura Jackson. Perhaps you’ve seen her hosting and reporting live from prestigious awards shows. Finally, you might recognise her as one-third of the My Dad Wrote a Porno podcast, which she does with friends Jamie Morton and James Cooper.
As if that isn’t an exhaustive list of work, Levine has recently collaborated with Finery to create a “forever” blouse. And what a blouse it is: The dusty-pink silk top comes with ruffles (always a good sign), but alas it’s already sold out. However, let’s hope there’ll be another one coming up soon. In the meantime, we had a chat with the broadcaster about this collaboration, what she wears to cook when hosting a dinner party (and still manage to look good) and what her guiltiest fashion pleasure is. Spoiler: You definitely own it.
Keep scrolling for London’s funniest girl’s take on fashion’s guiltiest pleasure.
WHO WHAT WEAR UK: How did you start working with Finery for this collaboration?
ALICE LEVINE: This is the second item we’ve done together, which was a reworking of the blouse we did last year. They’d asked a gang of girls what they bought over and over again—something that was their uniform. Immediately I chose a blouse (I’m wearing one right now); as for me, that had to be something feminine but not too girly. I wanted it to be like something Gillian Anderson would wear in The Fall. So we tweaked the finish and the colour so it’s a sheeny shiny pink number. It feels glam, and even though I’m super pale, it doesn’t wash me out.
WWW UK: Have you always been into fashion?
AL: Like anyone, I’ve always been interested in fashion. However, I’ve never been somebody who follows high fashion really closely; I’m not particularly on trend, and I’m not someone who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of fashion. I’m definitely more into design. I’ve always had an interest, but I had no technical knowledge on how you put a garment together, where to put the buttons and how it hugs the body. So working with Finery was like the best internship ever.
WWW UK: Do you have an outfit that’s like a guilty pleasure?
AL: My guilty pleasure that not many people get see is that the moment I get home I have to get changed into something really comfy. Ideally legging with holes that feel like when an old T-shirt softens up. Yeah, something like that. And a greying, baggy jumper over the top. I do this podcast [My Dad Wrote a Porno], and the guys I do it with are always like “Oh, you’ve really dressed up for us.” They came over last night and weren’t too impressed with my attire. Only the inner circle really gets to see that look, though.
WWW UK: You and Laura Jackson cook together and host supper clubs. What’s the best thing to cook in? And how do you host a dinner party without ruining your clothes?
AL: Well, we always give ourselves the five-minute rule. She gets five minutes, and I get five minutes. It’s one minute on the eyeliner, a minute on the lippie, and then a few minutes to change. Obviously when we’re in the kitchen we cook everything, so we have to feel comfortable—frilly sleeves are a no-no. Of course, a white shirt is an error at all times, and in a stressful kitchen situation, you’re just asking for trouble, so we usually throw on a dress or a jumpsuit. And we always wear flats.
WWW UK: What have you learnt fashion-wise from Laura? And what have you taught Laura in return?
AL: She is the oracle. This is why I’m tentative about saying I know anything about fashion. She’s a real swot, and I pick her brains all the time. I just did Glastonbury [presenting for BBC], and she was amazing and helped me pick out what to wear. I thought she’d send a quick message back, but she ended up WhatsApping me 35 pictures of all the things I could get in the shops for it.
She’s got such a good eye, and although we have very different styles, she knows what’s right for me. Like, she says, “I bought this in Zara and thought of you” (obvs I pay her back, though). I do the same, though. The other day I was walking past IDEA in Dover Street; it makes those Winona tees [Ed. note: the Winona T-Shirt, £25], I got her one of those on a whim, and it went down an absolute treat; it’s probably her new favourite T-shirt.
@alicelevine PICTURED: Ganni top; Zanzan eyewear
WWW UK: How do you get ready for a red carpet event? Do you find them daunting?
AL: They make me feel sick. I find them really stressful. I rarely just walk them; I don’t really ever do that. Everyone’s just so cool and effortless, and it worries me. It’s a level of being dressed up that I don’t do very often, as I’m quite scruffy, really. The thought of being that put together is hard.
With the BRITs this year [Alice was presenting], I tried on a Vilshenko dress and immediately felt really good in it; my posture changed. I felt like I looked really nice in it. There’s also something about having your hair and makeup done that helps, but once you’re working, you’re so in the head space of doing that that you don’t have time to worry about anything else.
WWW UK: What’s your biggest fashion mistake?
AL: Do you know what? Before I discovered my shape, I think everything before I worked that out was a disaster. I’ve worked out that high-waisted trousers suit me. If you’re curvy like I am, you can’t wear low-rider jeans, and at college, that wasn’t a good look for me. Also, if you’ve got boobs, you can dress them wrong, as you can end up looking matronly. But that’s why a blouse is good—you can undo a couple of buttons and not feel too exposed.
WWW UK: How would you describe your own personal style?
AL: I remember my friend, James from our podcast, once said to me, “You dress like an old woman in a particularly harsh winter.” I look like I’m hunkered down for a Russian winter and have lots of pockets to keep an apple or nuts in.
WWW UK: Do you have any go-to inspirations?
AL: I always think Michelle Williams from Dawson’s Creek looks amazing. Gillian Jacobs from Love, too; she looks amazing all the time. Oh, and Eleven from Stranger Things.
WWW UK: Do you steal any clothes from your friends and “forget” to give them back?
AL: Generally in life, I’m not good at giving anything back. And actually I borrowed a jumper from a male friend, and he said, “You’ll never give it back,” and I said, “Shut up. Be generous; I’m cold,” as I was using it for the night. That was about five years ago. I actually now don’t borrow clothes from people, as I’m terrible about giving them back.
WWW UK: We couldn’t let you go without asking one MDWAP question. Who’s better dressed—Belinda or Bella?
AL: Belinda is very rarely dressed, we’ve only really seen her in a tennis outfit, but I’d still have to go with her.
Next up, the biggest spring/summer 2018 fashion trends you need to know about.