How We Met: Henry Holland & Alexa Chung


Alexa Chung, 28

A British TV presenter and model, Chung is best known for presenting Channel 4's weekend youth strand T4 and shows such as 'Frock Me' and 'Vanity Lair'. She is also a contributing editor to British 'Vogue'. She lives in New York.

Henry was working for Smash Hits as a fashion editor in 2004 when I first met him, as I was assisting my photographer boyfriend for an Atomic Kitten shoot. Henry had this amazing energy about him and such infectious laughter.

At the same time I was also doing some modelling, which was where I met Aggy [Holland's close friend Agyness Deyn]. When I realised she was also friends with Henry we all started to hang out. We were in similar places: early on in our careers, before it went a bit mad for us, and we formed a bit of a brat pack: Grimmy [Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw], Aggy, me and Henry, coming together at parties for the free drinks, one of us always DJing.

At one point, around 2006, I was going to move in with him. I'd just split up from my boyfriend and he offered me a room in his flat in Primrose Hill. I left the day I moved in, though, as I had so many clothes with me that there was no way they'd all fit unless I was going to sleep on them.

It was around that time that he started designing T-shirts. He'd given one to the Olsen twins and he wanted to start a business; now look at him! Initially the Henry Holland brand was based around those T-shirts. They did well as they epitomised British street style at the time, revisiting slogans, and they had a cheekiness that other brands don't. He's since done some cool knitwear and he was there with polka dots before anyone else – I love his polka-dot denims.

We've had a lot of fun partying together. I remember his first big show at London Fashion Week, a few years ago. There was a brilliant after-party, with Grimmy DJing, and we all joined hands and did this conga line – until we all fell, arse over tit, in front of the paparazzi. That wasn't so cool, particularly as Aggy didn't have any knickers on at the time.

I've been in New York a few years now, though when I'm back we all still hang out as a big group. Our circumstances have changed, but I don't think any of us have – though maybe now Henry can afford a bigger spare room.

Henry Holland, 29

After graduating from the London College of Printing, Holland flung himself into the limelight in 2006 with his 'Fashion Groupies' T-shirts featuring slogans such as 'UHU Gareth Pugh', 'Get Your Freak on Giles Deacon' and 'I'll Show You Who's Boss Kate Moss'. He now designs ranges from dresses to eyewear. He lives in London.

I met Alexa when I was working at Smash Hits. An old boyfriend of hers shot a lot of the musicians for our covers and as she was interested in photography, she often came along, too. She had a wonderful dry sense of humour and, of course, she was gorgeous; I loved her feline eyes.

We had the same group of friends, such as Grimmy and Pixie [Geldof], and we started hanging out away from the party circuit. We had several memorable karaoke nights out. She's very good at singing Kings of Leon's Sex on Fire. She's very theatrical, rocking out big time. Me and Pixie will sing Bryan Adams songs: Alexa has much cooler taste than me, as I like cheesy stuff, such as Girls Aloud, and she likes more indie stuff.

My first TV project [the Channel 4 fashion show ] Frock Me, in 2008, was co-presented by Alexa. I was scared – really nervous, actually – but she made it relaxing fun for me. With TV, you have to feel at ease and feel yourself and she helped me to do that and we had a laugh.

I'm an over-sharer, as I'm desperate for people to like me, so I tell them all sorts of personal information. Alexa, though, is more held back and reserved. She's also head-strong and knows what she wants, though it has taken her time to know how to act in a professional situation.

Alexa's a modern-day style icon: it's why she's had a Mulberry bag named after her, and now everyone hangs off her every outfit because of this individuality she has. There's a tomboy feel to her, as she's always wearing something with a boyish edge.

I remember we had a fancy-dress party once and Alexa went as a sexy Wonder Woman. She caught loads of flak from the press the next day, who were saying she had gone out looking like a tramp and I was like, "Err, hello, it's fancy dress!"

For a party for [fashion store] Browns that Alexa was hosting, I did a men's T-shirt that had an illustration of her, half-naked, with pumpkins over her boobs. It wasn't for sale – it was just for the goody bag – though I'm sure if I did a proper "Alexa Henry Holland T-shirt" it would fly off the shelves.

The House of Holland per Superga range of shoes is available now (, Alexa Chung is creative director and face of Superga's spring/summer 2012 campaign

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...

HR Manager - HR Generalist / Sole in HR

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - HR Generalis...

Business Analyst - Banking - London - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Banking - People Change - Lond...

HR Manager - Milton Keynes - £50,000 + package

£48000 - £50000 per annum + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Shared...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape