We can officially check one more item off our bucket list: hanging out with Alexa Chung. Yesterday afternoon, our very own Hillary Kerr sat down with the TV presenter/author/tastemaker at the Neiman Marcus celebration of her AG Jeans collaboration, and much to our delight, things got a little cheeky. Check out the complete interview below, along with some of Chung’s best denim moments.
Hillary Kerr: Will you tell us about the first pair of jeans you fell madly in love with?
Alexa Chung: In the ‘90s, there was a pair of black, sorry it’s another brand, Levi’s and they were really skinny and I loved them, was obsessed with them. Unfortunately, I had two older brothers that would bully me on a daily basis. My brother used to follow me around and be like, “drainpipes, drainpipes,” so I stopped wearing them. That was the first pair I loved and lost, and my life has replicated that through denim and men.
HK: There is a rumour going around that skinny jeans are over. Do you think those people are liars or prophets?
AC: I think they are liars. I just think we don’t have to replace one with the next. I think skinny jeans are the most flattering things and they are really comfy, but also I have found myself wearing a more relaxed fit as well. There is room for everyone. I also love mum jeans without the mum bum. I don’t know if the cut was different back in the day, but it always looked like everyone’s bum was sort of eating the denim. Hungry hungry bums…it’s going to replace Hungry Hungry Hippos.
HK: Who is your denim style icon of all time?
AC: I love her so much that I’m actually almost bored of her somewhat, but Jane Birkin. I Google her every day, once a day. I write her name and then something next to it, like “Jane Birkin smocks,” or something like that. “Jane Birkin denim” is really good. It always looked like she kept them for years and they were always with a crop top—good stuff.
HK: Do you think there is a particular style of denim that is universally flattering?
AC: I remember seeing in magazines a chart that was like, “if you’re pear shaped, wear this,” and they would always say boot cut would be really flattering, but it’s just not, is it? I would look at the chart and always be like, “I don’t think that’s going to work for me.” No, I think it’s different for every person, unfortunately. That’s why denim is so hard to find. I would advise if you find one pair that you really like, buy multiples.
HK: It’s time to judge a pair of jeans. In order of importance, how would you rank cut, wash, fabric, and the way they make your butt or legs look?
AC: I was saying this morning that the interesting thing about the bum is that I don’t believe I’ve ever turned around to look at myself in a mirror. Only because I don’t want to see, not because I’m like, “oh all is good.” Cut is the most important, and then you’ll survive anything. That’s why you can wear leopard jeans and still look cool, as they long as they fit you nicely.
HK: Who on Instagram do you think is really awesome?
AC: You know, I’m having quite a good time in life right now that I don’t feel compelled to look anyone up. I love anyone I follow, but I really like this sunglasses company called ZanZan (@zanzaneyewear) and there is a dude called ZanZan Man (@zanzaneyewear). I don’t who that is, but their pictures are great. Also, you know you’re turning a bit older when you really like interior design. Holler DomaineHome. Now I drive down the street, and before I would be like, “Oh they have those shoes,” now I’m like, “Oh a lighting company.”
HK: Your hair is the beauty equivalent of jeans: casually cool and universally appealing. What are your secrets for getting it to look the way it does?
AC: I am a chronic futzer. I like to futz…I’ve got a futzing problem. It’s a dry shampoo futzing. Thank you for saying I’ve got nice hair. I think it’s because my dad is Asian and my mum isn’t, and it made this weird half kind of curl thing happen.
HK: Do you wash your jeans?
HK: So you don’t freeze them?
AC: Why are you freezing your jeans?
HK: Because some people think that it kills the bacteria without actually compromising the denim. Rumour has it.
AC: I quite like washing it, because then they shrink a bit and you’ve got sort of like an exposed cankle region, which I think is quite good. I often don’t wear underwear, so I have to wash them each time. Not that anything weird is going on there. I know the boys don’t wash them very much.
HK: I think that’s because they are lazy.
AC: No, I ask them, and they are like, “Oh no dude, that’s just what you do.”
HK: What mistakes do you see people making with denim? What to you want tell them/how would you fix it?
AC: I don’t really notice what people are wearing unless I like it.
HK: Do you tell them that?
AC: Yeah. There was a girl outside and I was like, “sick outfit.” It’s weird, because I am like barking at people outside, or I shout the brand [they are wearing] at them.
HK: In addition to being an author, a designer, and a TV presenter, you are also a journalist. Who would you rather be interviewing right now?
AC: On the plane over here I watched Drive for the first time. I’m aware that the world fancies Ryan Gosling, it’s not like a new fact for me, but I didn’t understand it per se. Then I watched that and was like, “oh no, that’s insane.” I wouldn’t mind looking at him for a bit.
HK: Who would you love to see wearing your collection?
AC: I’ve always been concerned that when you get older you don’t dress well or something, so I would be really happy if Patti Smith had it on. If I saw her in the East Village, and she was like, “Yo, AC I got your jeans,” I’d be like, “thanks Patti Smith, that’s great.”