Discovered at JFK airport when she was 14, Moss shot to stardom and has since become one of the greatest icons of our generation.
What is it about Kate Moss that allures us? That calls to us like a siren’s song and compels us to involuntarily swoon over everything she does, be it her captivating campaigns, enviable street style, or seemingly wild and free life? Is it the confidence she exudes and the clothes she wears; the soft, meek voice that catches us by surprise; or, maybe it’s the persona the media has created for her — portraying her as a wild and almost reckless person with a penchant for hard partying. Regardless of what your reason is, it’s safe to say that Kate Moss is one of the few living icons of our time. As to what my own feelings are towards the model/designer/singer (yes, she sang), I’m a huge fan of Kate Moss. I’m a fan of the ideal she represented when she first began her modeling career — not heroin chic, but rather the “anti-model”, a different body type from the tall and curvaceous models at the time. I’m a fan of the person she seems to be both on and off the screen — shy, timid, almost humbled by the media and public’s insatiable craving of her. I’m a fan of who she’s become — yes, she’s grown to be a wife and mother, but she’s never strayed away from who she is as a person, never relinquishing her freedom or individuality. I respect that. Especially in today’s day and age where most starlets are indistinguishable from everyone else.
In order to understand why Kate Moss is as iconic as she is, it’s important to take a look back at everything she’s done in her 25+ year long career.
Obsession & Heroin Chic
Born in Croydon, London, and discovered at JFK Airport by Sarah Doukas of Storm Model Management, Kate Moss started her career at the age of 14. At that time, she was presented as the anti-model to curvaceous women who dominated the current scene like Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Claudia Schiffer, thus ushering in the era of heroin chic.
While the image of waif had existed before with models like Twiggy in the ’60s, Kate Moss was the model to bring it back into the fashion realm, where it’s influence can still be seen in today’s campaigns and runways. While it’s easy to dismiss the era of heroin chic as the start of a dangerous ideal that proliferated throughout the modeling industry and trickled down to the masses, the part of the “movement” that is often overlooked is its representation of a different ideal, one that introduced a new body type to the scene. Instead of the statuesquely-perfect bodies of the Glamazon models of the day — ones with tall, firm legs, B/C-cup boobs, pouty lips, and an hourglass figure — Kate Moss’ body was one that was on the shorter side (she is 5′ 7″) and boyish in its frame. Given the advancements made in the modeling industry with the introduction of plus-size models, and models like Madeline Stuart and Winnie Harlow, Kate Moss’ body type may seem dated, but at the time it was revolutionary.
It wouldn’t be until 3 years later, when Moss was 17 years old and dating photographer Mario Sorrenti, that her career would blow up. Commissioned by Calvin Klein to shoot his Obsession fragrance campaign, Kate and Mario stole away to a deserted shack on the beach where he snapped away at her for 10 days straight. While the campaign shot her to stardom, the experience ended her relationship with Mario Sorrenti due to the photographer’s own obsession at incessantly taking pictures of the model. It was Kate Moss’ young, childlike-image that those in the fashion world became enraptured by.
Kate Moss’ 25+ Year Career
Over her 25+ year long career, Kate Moss has been featured in over 300 magazines and has done who knows how many campaigns with who knows how many designers. Her long-list of collaborations include fashion houses Dolce & Gabbana, Longchamp, Gucci, Chanel, Rimmel, Alexander McQueen, Tom Ford, and photographers such as Mario Sorrenti, Mario Testino, Terry Richardson, Corinne Day, and the list goes on and on.
Kate Moss has been the single, most-enduring model of our time and, even in her 40’s, she still models. While it’s hard to encapsulate Kate Moss’ career in one sitting, her most notable campaigns have been the 1993 Obsession campaign with Calvin Klein, the 2007 Agent Provacateur campaign in which the site crashed upon its launch due to thousands of people logging on to see her acting debut, the 2008 Burberry campaign, the YSL 2008 campaign whose theme was Icons, the 2010 Longchamp campaign whose handbags she designed, Topshop 2007 campaign in which she’s stayed on as a designer, and rag & bone’s first ever 2012 campaign.
In the later years of her career, Kate Moss began designing her own lines for various fashion houses with her most notable being her Topshop and Longchamp collaborations.
Her reigning career in fashion — both in front of and behind the lens — is a testament to her enduring, enigmatic persona. It’s the mystery and aloof nature surrounding her that enthralls us and makes us want to know more, see more and discover more about who she is as a person. It’s her enigmatic quality that is perhaps the sole reason behind Kate Moss’ iconic career.
Her Personal Style
Almost as alluring as her photographs is her personal style which has been established as the poster child of the “London look.” Kate’s personal style is a mix of bohemian/rocker chic/grunge/glam and was the first style to be emulated by fashionistas the world over. She was one of the first celebrities to have lookbooks fashioned after her, websites dedicated to nailing her effortless look, and ushered in an era of bohemian-chic trends that introduced to us the likes of Alexa Chung, Nicole Richie, Sienna Miller, and more.
Her personal style reflects her cool confidence which has defined her career.
Model As Icon
After 25 years, we still find ourselves entranced by Kate Moss. This was evidenced in her 2011 return to the runway where she casually smoked a cigarette while walking down the Louis Vuitton runway. As soon as the media caught sight of her sashaying, the entire runway and everyone else in it immediately faded into darkness with the highlight being the end of Kate Moss’ runway hiatus.
Throughout the ups and downs of her career, we have remained in awe of her cool, composed nature that seems to contradict her superstar status. Regardless of her iconic career, Kate Moss has managed to remain humble and down-to-earth, something she attributes to her upbringing in Croydon. It is her timid nature (have you seen her interviews? adorable), reserved confidence and enigmatic career that have propelled her into Icon status where she joins the likes of Naomi Campbell, David Bowie, Elton John, Kurt Cobain, and many more.