Inside Alice's wonderland
Property heiress, rocker, model and Lagerfeld 'muse' dazzles in a world of creativity
"Sorry, I'll be with you in a minute," Alice Dellal says apologetically between mouthfuls of a late dinner, while trying not to burn her mouth. The chaotic scene in her hotel room perfectly sums up the boundless energy and kinetic nature of Dellal's life at the moment.
She switches from rocking out with her band in London one day to doing promotional work in Hong Kong for one of the most august of fashion houses the next.
Dellal was here to celebrate Chanel's rather surreal Numéros Privés installation in the Museum of Medical Sciences, which ended on Saturday.
The property heiress and society figure is also the face of the Boy Chanel bag, the brand's latest must-have accessory, but she has gained wider fame as Karl Lagerfeld's most recent muse.
Dellal, much like everyone else, isn't too sure what a muse is. "Someone inspiring who inspires someone, I guess. But a muse must be herself," she declares.
And Dellal, 25, is certainly herself, hardly fitting the mould of your everyday "it" girl. She talks in quick bursts peppered with London slang, is dressed in punky, big black boots, is covered in tattoos and keeps the left side of her head shaved in a look that has spawned a thousand imitators.
Dellal first met Lagerfeld when she was sent to Paris to participate in his The Little Black Jacket book.
"I wasn't nervous or anything. I mean, I had heard a lot about this Karl geezer," she adds with a knowing laugh. "We met and we got on. He liked the way I was, and the way I dressed. He's outspoken and he says what he thinks, and I like that."
Some traditionalists may have wondered about the reasoning behind this choice as the face of Boy Chanel. Not Lagerfeld. He saw in Dellal a "modern girl with a strong personality" and a perfect fit for the bag.
This strong personality is evident when we get to the topic of Dellal's own style. "I'm not sick of the question, but I find it boring," she says, when asked to define her style, quickly adding: "It's comfort. Wearing the things I want to wear, the things I like, are the things that attract me, inspire me further. I get inspired by films, music, my family. The things you do, the things you live. I don't look at magazines and think: 'I want to look like that.'"
Her family are no strangers to the social circuit, and have certainly contributed to her can-do attitude. The Dellals are like a London version of the Tenenbaums, with sister Charlotte (of Charlotte Olympia) one of London's hottest shoemakers and brother Alex a notable art dealer - not to mention Guy Dellal, her photographer father, and Andrea, her Brazilian model mother. Her grandfather was the famous billionaire London property investor "Black" Jack Dellal.
"Growing up, we all got on so well," she says. "My sister inspired me to love boots and kilts and stuff. When she was younger, all she would wear were Doc Martens and kilts and listen to Nirvana, and now look at her!" Dellal affects a posh accent in a playful ribbing of her sister's upmarket glamour.
"We've all stuck to what we wanted to do since we were kids. My sister's always wanted to make shoes, I've always wanted to create things," she says.
Apart from indulging in her own creative passions, Dellal has also supported those of others, namely her friend and avant-garde jewellery designer Dominic Jones.
"I was trying to be a bit clever and invested in his brand four years ago when he finished school," Dellal says. "Now he's doing really well, and he's won loads of awards. And he says I'm his muse, so there you go!"