Words Kiera Court
Portraits Sneve Løvstad
“Less is more when there is so much choice wanting new things…”
Summer slips past the cutting clouds of a winter morning, through the apartment window and scatters onto the floor beside my feet. The Soho home of fashion designer and tastemaker Alex Eagle radiates innate warmth. To my right is a bounty of stacked records. In front of me, an island table-top decorated with fresh, seasonal vegetables stretches across the room.
Eagle coos softly to her second child, Columba, who’s delicately perched on an adjacent high chair, while her make-up is finessed. “You’ve blush on your cheeks already; you don’t need any more. You’ve a natural blush.” An elated Columba giggles in response. When Alex Eagle launched her own label in 2015, it was by no means an instantaneous decision. The success of her slick, classic designs, as well as collaborations with other artists, comes down to a native drive paired with a fashion fixation that kicked in at a young age.
“I’ve endless scrap books full of 90s pictures from Vogue, different magazines all ripped out and stuck together,” she muses as we recline into a sofa below a peering print from Alex Prager’s Silver Lake Drive collection. Unsure of what sector of the industry she preferred, she continued to study art in school and went on to achieve a History of Art degree, which she found to be impeccably relevant. “My first job was assisting a stylist. I later worked at Tank, then Then Harpers Bazar. I was writing, styling – a mixture. I always liked doing a mixture.”
Afterwards, Eagle went on to work in PR for Joseph. “I sat with all these amazing women – the CEO, the Creative Director, Communications Director and Buying Director. It was a really close team and I got to see the 360 of how the fashion industry works. From the design, to shooting the campaign, to the marketing.” She cites her time at Joseph as the main source of inspiration that spurred her on to embark upon her own shop.
Eagle’s pieces are timeless staples. They’re worthy investments and make for a handsome uniform. On shop floors, she witnessed multiple fashion seasons change. “It was a reaction slightly against the fashion industry. I didn’t want the whole seasonal thing. I was turning 30 and I felt like people were almost wishing their whole life away as they were always waiting for the next season. Less is more when there is so much choice in wanting new things.”
Columba lets out a fierce wail from the kitchen and Eagle’s attention is entirely stolen for a split second. She clearly agrees. When all is calm again, Eagle continues. “I wanted to develop a place where you could always go and buy the white silk shirt; the black trousers that make you feel just divine; the blazer that you could wear with everything, everyday, all day long.”
The collaborations offer the opportunity for fabulous minds and incredible talents to join forces and create refreshing items. Eagle works with ceramicists, artists and records to name a few. “I love working with people who are just so good at what they do – something that I can’t do. They’re so inspiring. Your wardrobe could be cohesive building blocks in a luxury way and then other things that means it’s always fresh or there’s always something new to look out and be inspired by.”
Her store sits in the heart of Soho’s Lexington Street. Soho has always been Eagle’s home, so it makes sense. “I was born in London. I’m a Londoner through and through. I would love to open a store in America, in LA, and in NYC, and somewhere else in Europe but my home is here. You have all walks of life; all generations and mixes. It’s such a creative hub being in Soho. You’ve got everything at your doorstep.”
Soho’s diversity and unapologetic determination to defy the norm makes it the perfect home for her studio, where her shapes and silhouettes are very identity neutral. Men’s and women’s fashion are blurring. “We always said that when we opened the store in Berlin four years ago that the whole concept was men and women shopping together for each others’ clothes,” she explains. “It was marketing menswear to women that’s already menswear but making women realise that men buy quite cleverly. They buy things that they keep forever and wear forever. There’s not this constant erratic behaviour about buying around seasons, buying around what’s fashionable, buying around what’s in the sale. Men tend to buy classic things that suit them and fit them, that they just wear to death.”
As for her own style, during the early stages of her business Eagle’s busy schedule demanded accessible clothes. She reached for sophisticated suits and a colour palette of black, white and navy. “Something put together without having to worry about accessorising. I buy a lot of The Row. It has beautiful fabrics and I mix that with my own brand. I make bespoke suits for myself so I can always have them. We have a Savile Row trained tailor called Chandni who works with us and makes the suits. You sit down with her and choose the fabric and it fits like a glove.”
Eagle has the remarkable ability to get a unique inkling of an individual’s taste and tailor both clothes and conversation to them. She must, I imagine, be the perfect host.