It’s the news we’ve all been waiting for. Alexa Chung is writing a book. Her debut oeuvre, entitled It, is set to be released this autumn.
Now, forgive me if I’m being ignorant, but for the life of me I can’t imagine what Chung (whose main exploit is wearing inoffensive clothes while looking so emaciated it is surely just a matter of time until she appears on the red carpet with a nasogastric feeding tube extending from her namesake Mulberry bag and into her nostrils), will contribute to the world of publishing. Thankfully there is a press release to hand, to clear up any doubt: “from deciding what to wear in the morning, to style icons, love and underwear: witty, charming and uniquely designed, this full colour book will give you a chance to enter Alexa’s world and seek inspiration.”
Ho-hum. I can already see it on the discount table at Urban Outfitters, next to the Lomography cameras and wallets shaped like hamburgers. It’s a funny old world, in which someone like Chung can get a book deal. On her Wikipedia page, she’s billed as a “television presenter, model and contributing editor at British Vogue” but in truth she’s not very accomplished at any of these vocations. Her first attempt at gaining recognition beyond the UK, a 2009 MTV series called It’s on With Alexa Chung, was cancelled after just 6 months, while a new series of 24 Hour Catwalk (Chung’s latest – and critically slated – attempt at US TV) does not seem to be forthcoming. “She’s not incredibly endearing on camera, and her voice is not pleasing to the ear” one reviewer noted.
No, Chung’s true calling is being Alexa Chung, this curious entity who is seen on the front row at Burberry and Chanel shows, and provides endless fodder for mid-market British fashion magazines, but doesn’t actually seem to do anything. She’s a duller, thinner, less famous version of Kim Kardashian, with a side-line in Peter Pan collars instead of a sex tape. And enough magazines and blogs have called her a “fashion icon,” “style maven,” and “geek-chic It-girl” that the logical fallacy of repetition making something true seems to have fooled us all into believing that Chung is a style commentator whose views must be immortalised in print.
The real stinger in this book business, though, is not so much that she is being published, but the way in which it came about. Speaking to Fashionista.com last year, once news of her forthcoming publication had been unleashed on the world at large, Chung revealed that she hadn’t yet written anything and didn’t know what the book would contain. From this, we can infer that the publisher had struck up a deal with her BEFORE she had told them what the book would be about, let alone provided a manuscript or any mock-ups. A bony middle finger to all the writers out there who can’t even get publishers to glance at their manuscripts, let alone commit to publication. By the way, it is the globally-respected firm Penguin behind Chung’s book, not some trashy celebrity publisher. She’s hard at work now, though: “I literally have cut-outs of pictures I’ve taken and I get to be like: ‘That one goes there,’” she told Vogue last week. It seems the rules are different when you have just over one million Twitter followers. Incidentally, an hour ago Chung tweeted “I am watching paint dry.” In that I will join her, if it’s an alternative to reading her book.
PS. Chung once revealed that she gets sent so many freebies from designers that they won’t all fit in her house. If that’s not enough to make you bury your face in the nearest family-size bag of peanut butter M&M’s and give up on the fashion world for once and for all, I don’t know what is.