03 November 2012


"Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels." - Kate

I haven't been this excited over a magzine all year! December's Vanity Fair brings to us a Kate Moss explosion: with the stunning cover, and the news is that a new coffee-table book dedicated to Kate, 38, is now in bookstores. Kate: The Kate Moss Book is a deluxe retrospective of the work of the world's most famous model (by the predictable roster of photographers Mario Testino, Karl Lagerfeld and Hedi Slimane), it is co-edited with Jefferson Hack, her ex and the father of her daughter, Lila Grace, 7.
With Christy Turlington (the unlikeliest BFFs?)
We've been staring at Kate's face for over 30 years now, and we're still staring at her covers and campaigns. Meanwhile she's been raking in her millions – as of now, she's still one of the highest paid models in the world – and that means one of the highest paid models of ALL TIME. But what she really thinks and really feels, is closely guarded, as sphinx-like, she rarely grants interviews or comments to the press; Is this a strategy to keep us all interested? Because the silence surely increases the impact of some the most facile of her revelations.

Why do I fond her fascinating? I think it has to do with the triumphant durability of the one least likely to succeed - the little flawed one that could and did. Kate has achieved the longevity - the permanence - that no other model before her has despite not being the most beautiful or amazonian. She is snaggle-toothed, bow-legged, wonky-eyed. Yet, she has worked in fashion for over three minutely-recorded decades: in that time, Kate launched trends, defined styles, became an icon, the very definition of what it means to be a model. Other iconic models have been frozen irrevocably as the definition of an era – Twiggy will always mean the 1960s, Lauren Hutton the 1970s, Jamie Dickenson the 1980s. Linda Evangelista the 1990s – and though they enjoy pop-up revivals, only Kate represents the constantly evolving face of fashion. Three decades in fashion is a long time.

She was the scrawny face of grunge in the early 1990s, and her name became synonymous with heroin chic by the mid 1990s. At the turn of the Noughties, she morphed into a rocker chick. Her wide appeal enabled her to appear in ad campaigns for brands pitched at every segment of the market from Rimmel to Louis Vuitton. She has sold everything to everyone.

Kate became a celebrity in her own right. Celebrity culture, as the internet took hold, made Kate a star: her appeal flourished in a thousand stylish outfits with nary a wardrobe malfunction in sight. Or rather, her wardrobe malfunctions became style signatures. It was her personal clothes, her choices, rather than any particular label, that people noticed and coveted. This was quickly parlayed into profit in 2007, when she collaborated with Topshop on a line for which she was reportedly paid £3m. She launched her own perfume, published a book, and designed for Longchamp.

Candid images from her life, which are ubiquitous, had as much impact as her ever-growing portfolio of magazine covers (more than 400). Pictures of Kate with her various boyfriends including Johnny Depp, the pasty Pete Doherty, the effete Jefferson Hack, her husband (Kills musician) Jamie Hince are commonplace, as are images of her living the model life in Glastonbury, Ibiza or Phuket. Whether at her local or the Ritz,

Kate was always a newsmaker: back when she started, she was criticised for promoting anorexia. Her association with heroin chic continues to dog her, and exploded in the 2005 scandal when The Daily Mirror ran photos of her apparently snorting cocaine. Although she was never charged with any drug offences, she retreated to rehab at The Meadows, after losing lucrative contracts with H&M, Burberry and Chanel. But in no time, she staged a blazing comeback with Burberry and Chanel and within a year, her earnings reportedly doubled from before the scandal.

Basically, the Vanity Fair interview could have been titled "Poor Thing Kate": it purportedly is about how sad  her early experiences in the fashion industry were, and how vulnerable she really is/was. For instance, at the July 1990 cover shoot for the Face that launched her career, with late photographer Corinne Day, Kate locked herself in a lavatory and cried because she was asked to go topless. Fabien Baron, then creative director for Calvin Klein's controversial ads, gave her an eight-year contract for the company because of those pictures. But for shooting a set by Herb Ritts, in which she posed with Mark Wahlberg, Kate had another melt-down. "It didn't feel like me at all. I felt really bad about straddling this buff guy. I didn't like it. I couldn't get out of bed for two weeks. I thought I was going to die."

These revelations feel inauthentic, and disingenuous, because Kate's entire ouvre seemed to be one big orgy of exposure. What's your take on Kate's fascination?

No comments:

Post a Comment