TOO SKINNY, TOO CHISELED, TOO MUCH OF A ONE-OFF. IN A MANNER OF SPEAKING. NONETHELESS, THE 1.73 METER TALL KATE MOSS HAS SEEN A METEORIC RISE FROM A WORKING CLASS NEIGHBOURHOOD IN LONDON TO THE MOST SOUGHT-AFTER MODEL IN THE WORLD AND HAS SUBSEQUENTLY BECOME FASHIONS MOST POWERFUL STYLE ICON. THE LITTLE GIRL FROM CROYDON DEVELOPED INTO A LEGEND AMONGST SUPERMODELS, A TITLE THAT REMAINS UNRIVALLED TO THIS DAY.
Instead of mineral water there is champagne, in place of cabbage soup, cocaine. The model with the innocent, perfectly proportioned face is known not for frequenting the gym, but rather being seen at parties. In comparison to her diet-obsessed and body-conscious colleagues, her career is the one exception to the rule. The Brit masters a difficult balancing act between the extremes of trash and glamour and bohemian and sleek, but whatever she does, influences the entire world. Kate Moss managed to shape the style of a whole generation, with only a few words of her own.
She was discovered at an airport at the tender age of 14. After four years in the modelling business and with only moderate success, the waifish Kate Moss suddenly became the epitome of the ‘heroin chic‘ fashion trend, which characterised the 90’s. The celebrated trigger was the Calvin Klein underwear campaign in which she stood in front of the camera with Mark Wahlberg. The resulting images elevated the Calvin Klein brand into fashion heaven. The company’s proprietary perfume CK became the signature scent the world over. And the delicate Kate Moss was catapulted into the Olympics of the modelling world.
As well as professional success, most notably, headline-grabbing coverage has contributed to the legend that is Kate Moss. Through her relationship with the Hollywood Star Johnny Depp, she ascended into the premier league of superstars. Her daughter Lila Grace was from her previous relationship with trendy magazine publisher Jefferson Hack. The on-off relationship with drug-addict rock poet Pete Doherty became a feast for the press because it involved one scandal after another. Since 2011, she has been married to The Kills frontman Jamie Hince, following their dream wedding, with festivities that lasted for several days. The wedding photographer was none other than Mario Testino. Designer John Galliano custom-made a beautiful, vintage-style wedding dress for the bride.
Regardless of the time of day or night, Kate Moss is always photographed by the paparazzi, with her iconic look and the laid-back Rock star attitude, she almost always looks incredible in photographs, regardless of how invasive the paparazzi can be. Her intuitive sense of fashion has turned the model from passive clothes horse to style icon.
Her childlike face never goes out of fashion. Every perfume, every handbag and every dress becomes a bestseller as soon as 'La Moss' promotes it. After 25 years in the modelling business, Kate Moss has achieved a status that no other model has experienced before. Within fashion she has thrown her considerable influence across all fields - as a supermodel, fashion designer, a contributing editor for British Vogue, but most importantly as an icon, just as she is.
The distinctive Kate Moss look with skinny jeans, Wayfarer sunglasses, leather jacket, Bohemian style blouses and dresses.
Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief of American Vogue has said the following about Kate Moss: “There’s something quite hidden about her. And I think that’s why so many photographers and editors — and, later on in her career, artists — were always drawn to her. Because it was hard to say exactly what she was or who she was, and they could put their own fantasies onto her.”
An oil portrait of the pregnant supermodel by British artist Lucian Freud was sold by auction by the Christie’s auction house in February 2005 for almost 4.7 million euro. Kate Moss had to pose for the painting almost every day for six months.
Katherine Ann Moss is born on 16 January 1974 in the south London Borough of Croydon. Her brother Nick comes along two years later. Kate attends Riddlesdown High School, her grades are rather average except in physical education.
Her mother, boutique owner and part time barmaid, separates from her husband when Kate was 13 years old. The divorce of her parents proves to be a dramatic turning point in the young girl’s life.“ The breakdown of Linda and Peter’s marriage had a massive effect on Kate and her brother Nick,“ says a good friend.“It was a really painful time for all the family, with lots of heated arguments and one massive screaming match when it finally came to an end.“ Following the divorce, Kate lives with her mother, her brother Nick moves in with his father. School friends recall that Kate began to hang around with unsuitable bad boys at this point. She was “going off the rails”.
As a travel agent, Peter Moss can provide his children with a 5 star holiday several times a year. During one of these trips, the family has a fateful stopover at JFK airport in New York. It was here that Sarah Doukas, owner of the newly founded modelling agency Storm Models becomes aware of the 14 year old Moss.“The girls who come to us at our agency are always very nervous; the situation is totally contrived, you hardly get a feel for their personality. I could observe Kate quietly and even if I didn’t yet know that she would become the star that she is today, I already thought at that time that this girl is quite special. A few days later, she came knocking on the door with her mother.”
Initially, it is difficult for Kate to find the right jobs as a model. At 1.73 metres tall, she is much too small. Her waif-like androgynous figure doesn’t correspond at all to the feminine type of woman of the dawning age of the supermodel. However, she now often hops on the train after school to attend castings. “When I started the thing with the modelling job, my teacher looked at me and said that she would have thought that I would end up at the cash desk at Woolworths".
In the end, she manages to get a job for the British magazine The Face. The photographer Corinne Day snaps Kate topless. The images make the teenager famous overnight in Great Britain. However, the great career is not yet in sight and hence Kate completes her high school exams and models on the side, when time allows - depending on whoever books her.
Kate Moss is invited to the casting for the new campaign from designer Calvin Klein in New York. The ambitious up-and-coming model flies to the test shoot – and immediately receives the undertaking. ''She has this childlike, womanlike thing. It's a kind of sexiness that I think is very exciting,'' the designer justifies his selection. "It's a new kind of beauty, not the big, sporty, superwoman type, but glamour, which is more sensitive, more fragile.''
The Calvin Klein campaign is published worldwide. The media response is huge. This demonstrates a new type of woman, a totally alternative concept to what is considered healthy and beautiful - heroine chic is born. Pale skin, droopy hair and heavily made up eyes will become the 90s look. Kate Moss becomes world famous overnight. The press curiously pounces on the model sensation. However, the critics are also vocal. Her Calvin Klein advertisement posters are daubed with “Feed me”. Kate is accused of promoting anorexia to young girls and women as a bad example. Kate, who at this time has rarely spoken to the press, simply comments: ''I try to eat so I won't be so waiflike, even if I do, I'm not going to become this voluptuous thing.''
In February, Kate Moss meets Hollywood Star Johnny Depp, who is eleven years her senior, in Café Tabac in New York. “I knew from the first moment we talked that we will be together. I have never had this feeling before. We just sat down and talked, sheer nonsense. I do not remember how it all happened. But after that we did not leave”, Kate regales over their first meeting. From the outset, Johnny Depp is fascinated by Kate’s carefree youthfulness.
With her famous boyfriend, Kate mixes in new circles and soon ranks amongst the A-list celebrities. She learns how to deal with the press and the media attention from him. He also gives her crucial career advice, which will contribute to the Kate Moss myth: “Never speak to the press.” And Kate sticks to this.
After four years, Johnny Depp leaves the party-hitting model. “They separated because Johnny could no longer deal with Kate's addition to parties”, explains a friend of the couple in the book Champagne Supernovas by Maureen Callahan. At this moment, Kate is well-known beyond the frontiers of the fashion world, to be a fun-loving child. She parties whenever she gets the chance – accompanied by alcohol and drugs. In New York’s Mark Hotel, such a fierce argument occurs between the stars that the police have to intervene. Depp completely trashes the hotel room. The resulting damage comes to 10,000 US dollars.
Following the separation, Kate Moss falls into deep depressions, drinks more and more and takes various drugs. “There has never been anyone who could take care of me. Johnny succeeded a little. I believed what he said. When I asked him: “What should I do?” he told me. I really lost the advice of someone I could trust. A nightmare. I cried for years.”
Kate Moss has worked non-stop for years and still keeps up with the partying. At the end of the year, she applies the emergency break and checks herself into the famous detox clinic The Priory in London. "I've been doing a lot of work and too much partying. I wasn't happy with the way my life was going. So I decided to step back and assess my life and future." After she is released from the clinic, she admits to never have been sober on the catwalk since the beginning of her career.
Kate meets the publisher Jefferson Hack in an interview for the British magazine Dazed & Confused. Compared to her ex-boyfriend Johnny Depp, Hack is very down-to-earth and works optimally without drugs. Kate can ultimately feel at ease with him. And that bears fruit. On 29 September 2002, their daughter, Lila Grace Moss, comes into the world. To date, she is Kate Moss’ only child. The relationship with Jefferson Hack lasts another two years.
In January, Kate Moss meets and falls in love with the musician and artist Pete Doherty at her birthday party. The functional junkie is more than devoted to the wild life. The relationship with the former The Libertines musician and now Babyshambles frontman is a scandal. Drug and alcohol binges pave the couple’s way who at times are also engaged. The 34 year old Brit becomes famous worldwide through Kate and the publicly-lived out crashes.
Towards the end of the year, the British newspaper Daily Mail publishes a photo with the headline “Cocaine Kate” which shows Kate Moss taking cocaine. At the same time, a video circulates the internet in which Kate sniffs one line after another within only a few minutes. All her advertising partners - including H&M, Chanel and Burberry – cancel contracts with her. The reputation of the cult model is in tatters. Critics predict the end of her career - but it turns out quite differently.
Slowly but surely, Kate Moss recovers. She undergoes rehab in Arizona and is bolstered by many of her prominent friends in the media. Despite the absence of a public apology, the advertising partners start queueing up again after a short time – and her income triples within a year. Kate is back. And finally after two years, the turbulent on/off relationship with Pete Doherty comes to an end.
Kate Moss concentrates fully on her career again which is going better than ever before. For the first time, she develops a fashion collection with the British store Topshop. The clothes taking on the typical Kate-look are a huge success and the collection is sold out within a few days.
The new man in Kate’s life is the British musician and The Kills frontman Jamie Hince. They have been a couple for two years. Hince can tame the restless model and they marry on 1st July 2011 in Little Faringdon in the grounds of her country house. The three-day party marathon with the official motto 'Glastonbury meets the Ritz', angers all the neighbours but delights the press all the more.
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