LOOK’s Gemma Yates gets the goss about fronting McArthurGlen’s new campaign, cooking with Jamie Oliver and girl crushing on Chloe Sevingny.
It’s definitely Laura Jackson and Alice Levine’s year. While you may know them individually – Laura as the face of TV shows like Take Me Out: The Gossip and Freshly Squeezed, and Alice as a Radio 1 DJ – together they’re a trailblazing duo who are currently storming the worlds of food and fashion too thanks to their regular Jackson & Levine supper clubs and latest gig as the joint face of designer shopping outlet McArthurGlen. Their place among the new tribe of cool female foodies including Gizzi Erskine has bagged them a cook book deal and TV show. “It’s a real sisterhood, we’re all really supportive of each other” the pair reveal. Fashionistas in their own right, Laura has worked with big high street names, while both are regulars on the London Fashion Week scene and owners of two envy-inducing wardrobes filled with designer, high street and vintage bargains, making them the perfect poster girls for McArthur Glen’s purse-friendly capsule wardrobe. We caught up with the twosome on the set of their new TV show to talk about two of our – and their – favourite things: fashion and food.
The McArthurGlen campaign is all about the ten pieces a woman can’t live without. What can’t you live without?
Alice: We’re both big cashmere fans. We both like a woollen jumper.
Laura: It’s a bit of a running joke – even as a bridesmaid, I had a dress on then put my navy jumper on after dinner.
How would you describe your style?
Alice: My very good male friend James said I dress like an old woman in a particularly harsh winter, which I think is quite accurate! Basically lots of layers and clashing textures like wool with silk.
Laura: I change my style all the time. I really like whole French chic, tailored look, but you can [still] catch me in tracksuit.
Which is your favourite piece from the McArthurGlen collaboration?
Laura: The trench from Jigsaw. I think it’s a real timeless piece, something that Jane Birkin would have worn in the ‘60s.
Alice: I love the Osprey bag. I’m a bit of a bag fiend. As Laura knows, I carry everything around with me all of the time – the kitchen sink, nine notebooks and about 10,000 pens!
What’s been your best fashion bargain?
Alice: My Burberry mac! I got it at a jumble sale for £2.50! I was having palpitations, I nearly passed out.
Laura: I bought an amazing velvet Gucci suit, like, Tom Ford Gucci, in Paris. It was a good price.
You both have your fingers in so many pies – food, fashion, music, TV – how do you balance it all?
Alice: I think they all kind of compliment each other. What Laura and I do with food is a real passion project. From that we’ve branched out into other stuff because we like working together.
Laura: We just have a nice job and it doesn’t feel like work!
What has been your career highlight so far?
Laura: Everything that we do, with or without each other, is kind of a mini celebration. We started the supper club because we weren’t working and we didn’t have any money. Then this year we’ve signed a book deal. And now we’re on set filming our new food show for Channel 4. We’ve done pretty well. I’m giving myself an internal clap right now!
You’re both used to interviewing celebrities – who is the best person you’ve interviewed?
Laura: Craig David sent Alice a video message saying he was really sorry that he’d missed her and that he can’t wait to be interviewed by her in the future.
Alice: It was the best day of my life! It’s my life’s regret that I was on holiday as I’m obviously massively into Craig. My first ever interview at Radio 1 was with Quentin Tarantino, and my producer made me play Hungry Hippos with him, so that was quite memorable!
Do you give each other fashion advice?
Alice: I ask Laura for advice all the time. She’s such a bossy boots. She doesn’t ask me!
Laura: When I get dressed my boyfriend will say ‘are you going to wear this?’ ‘what about that?’ so when I get to Alice, I’m kind of over it!
If you could only wear one designer for the rest of time, which brand would it be?
Laura: Miu Miu. But I saw the SS16 catwalk shows and Gucci were incredible too.
Alice: I think we both always really like Prada’s colour palette. I’m a girlie girl in a lot of ways. I love Orla Kiely for that – the print, the colour – she always does really gorgeous A-line shapes.
Laura: Topshop and Zara are the best though. Zara’s great because they do take on the runway, so if you see something from Chloe that you love, you know that in a few month’s time they’re gonna be in Zara. It’s affordable fashion for people who can’t afford the real thing.
Who inspires your style?
Laura: I do love Chloe Sevingny. I really love Jane Birkin, but I got Chloe’s new book and I was like ‘I should start wearing some short denim shorts!’
Alice: I always think Michelle Williams looks amazing. Even in Dawson’s Creek she was hot, but I like modern day Michelle even more!
There’s a real new tribe of young, stylish female foodies out there right now. How do you stand out from the crowd?
Alice: We’re friends with a lot of those people so it’s more a community. We all help each other. We’ve been able to call on people to borrow things.
Laura: In food, there’s not that competitive vibe. We’re all really supportive of each other.
Your Jackson & Levine supper clubs look so beautiful. What are your tips for throwing the perfect dinner party?
Laura: Fun friends only!
Alice: No fussy eaters! Well, unless they can’t help it.
Laura: Yeah, and no-one that’s really tight and will only bring one bottle of wine!
Alice: Cook something you’ve made before – save something new for when there’s only two of you. Have one course that’s maybe cold or pre-prepared that you can just whip out. People are there to see you, so you don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen.
What’s the best event you’ve ever catered for?
Alice: Ooh, we did dessert at Jamie Oliver’s Big Feastival which was amazing. We used loads of edible flowers, which looked really pretty.
Laura: We try to partner with people that we feel we share an aesthetic with, a similar vibe. It’s a collaboration.
Alice, would you ever want to follow in Grimmy’s footsteps and be an X Factor judge?
Alice: I have no advice to give on the performance front – I’d think everyone was great because I’m so terrible. He’s hilarious at it, so I’m going to leave it to him!
What are the drawbacks to being in the public eye?
Laura: We don’t hang outside of nightclubs or go out with famous boys so I don’t think we can be labelled like that.
Alice: I think it’s about if you court it [because] you can definitely avoid it. I think I would really hate it if people knew who I was!
So what’s next for Jackson & Levine?
Laura: Well the book and the Channel 4 show, then more supper clubs, food writing… we’re very busy until the end of the year!
By Gemma Yates