It’s not the first time established British high-street retailer Marks & Spencer has collaborated with a fashion icon, but ‘Archive by Alexa’ is its most buzzed-about project to date. For this collaboration, “It” Brit Alexa Chung worked alongside the M&S design team and dug into its extensive historical archives, through garments, campaigns, magazines, and TV adverts dating back to 1884. Following the discovery, exploration, and curation of over 70,000 assets and the addition of Chung’s unique approach to style, a 31-piece womenswear collection was born, reviving the retailer’s old designs with a contemporary and modern edge.
Here, Chung talks to Savoir Flair about her experience working on the collaboration, which will be available at selected stores across the GCC in May.
When you were going through the Marks & Spencer archives, was there a particular decade or year that caught your attention more than any other?
Not really. I was inspired by the garments from different eras of the Marks & Spencer history to create the 31-piece collection. There was something very touching about looking back through the British and social history that M&S is so synonymous with.
What were the most fun parts of the process?
When I found out about the archive, I was absolutely fascinated. It was great fun to be given the keys to the M&S archive and a treat to cherry pick the very best of its vast collection. I believe these looks are every bit as relevant today as they were then.
Which items out of the 31-piece collection would you say best represent your style?
I wanted to find specific blouses, school skirts, and cool 1960s jumpers in the archive that matched things I’d imagined. I love the pie-crust blouse that has a Victorian feel to it and makes me think of Princess Diana. I’d wear it with flared jeans and tall boots or just red ballerina pumps.
Would you say your personal style is more influenced by current trends?
For me, there’s more to dressing than being on trend. It’s about what makes you feel the most you. You’re most confident when you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing.