Could This Be the Most Hilariously Vacuous Celebrity Book Ever Written? She's Adored by the Fashion World and Teenage Girls. Now Model Alexa Chung's Turned Author. JAN MOIR Isn't Impressed

Daily Mail (London), September 14, 2013 | Go to article overview

Could This Be the Most Hilariously Vacuous Celebrity Book Ever Written? She's Adored by the Fashion World and Teenage Girls. Now Model Alexa Chung's Turned Author. JAN MOIR Isn't Impressed


Byline: by Jan Moir

WHAT do you mean, you've never heard of Alexa Chung? Alexa is a sort of grungy It-girl, a muse, a professional thin person, a DJ, a television presenter, a raspyvoiced fashion ambassador who has won the British Style Award three years running.

The 29-year-old from Hampshire is a fully paid-up member of planet fashion, not to mention being a global trendsetter, a face on the scene, someone who has been anointed with the highest honour of the age. Yes, just like Jane Birkin, Grace Kelly and Plastic Carrier, she has had a bag named after her.

It is not just Mulberry's Alexa satchel -- about [pounds sterling]1,000, thank you very much -- that makes Ms Chung a style heroine for many young women. This month she is on the cover of UK Vogue, where she is also a contributing editor.

Anna Wintour, editor of US Vogue, describes her as a phenomenon, while she is the current favourite muse of mad Karl Lagerfeld, the Chanel boss who thinks her 'beautiful and clever'.

The New York Times has declared her the 'Kate Moss of the new generation' although I suspect that Kate Moss of the old generation might have something to say about that. On top of all this, what brings us here today is the fact that Alexa has just written a book called It.

I say 'written'. I say 'book'. I mean neither of these things. It is, in fact, a collection of talent-free doodles, diabolically insubstantial musings on style and life, plus a baffling selection of personal photographs. The latter are all uncaptioned because, you know, we are just supposed to get it.

We are supposed to know who that chick on page 116 is with the leopard print tights and the sulky face. And to think that writing F*** You in the sand on a beach is not only amusing, but worthy of a photograph and subsequent publication in a book.

Look: here's a drawing I did of a baby. Here's a snap of some pumpkins in a supermarket trolley. Here's a list of people with good hair. Another doodle. Me smoking a ciggie. Isn't it all so absolutely fabulous? No. To be honest, It seems less like the product of a thoughtful writing process and more like Alexa spending half an afternoon downloading the entire content of her iPhone directly onto the page.

The pink, linen-bound hardback that is the finished result, so shamefully published by Penguin and sitting on my desk right now, is less brand new book and more like witless vanity publishing. It is so distressing to think that this vacuous nonsense is supposed to be an inspirational tome for a generation of girls.

Alexa may have the kind of kooky, gamine appeal that helps sell clothes, but she is not a deep thinker, that's for sure. 'Brigitte Bardot could make a litter tray look sexy,' she squeaks on page 109.

Yet at her book launch in London this week, hundreds of teenage girls were so thrilled to meet Alexa, they were crying. I am crying, too.

Why? Because It is such a dopeybrained orgy of self-congratulation, a great big hug of love from gorgeous me to delicious me. It is everything that is wrong with the fashion industry, all bound up in one slim, slight volume of doltish teenage ramblings, penned by a woman who will soon be 30.

EXAMPLES. Hobbies: 'Horses were my first love.' Beauty routines: 'I'm obsessed with moisturising, it's like a problem.' Knickers: 'I'd rather go commando than wedge myself into a g-string.'

Cosmetics: 'Different make-up suits different faces.' Clothes: 'I myself have an extensive collection of leather jackets.' Tips: 'Look in a mirror after you get dressed in the morning. Inspiration: 'Lolita is my favourite character to reference when getting dressed in summer months.'

What can I say? There are moments when Alexa Chung makes Pippa Middleton seem like Dostoevsky though perhaps you won't be surprised to hear there is not much about food here. 'Don't take carrot sticks and hummus to a rock festival,' is about her only mention of carbage or sustenance. …

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