Kate Moss is one of those women not easy to forget. When she became an unlikely fashion star in the Nineties, she stood out like a stain on satin against fellow Brit Naomi Cambell and a gaggle of other girls who were so commanding that “super” had to be added as a prefix to their job description. I remember I was not particularly impressed with her girlish body and newly post-pubescent face. The fact that she was often styled to look like a “waif”, in her case, like a street urchin made good, diminished her appeal to me.
But girls do like her. Scores of them. In not conforming to the body type of the models of Nineties, Kate Moss forged a new fashion aesthetic that spoke to the young who cannot attain physical perfection. Breast and hips—the lack of them—were no longer part of the beauty equation. Over her slim frame, she wore clothes with a distinctive edge. She showed that a woman need not be designer-dependent to be stylish. However, her influence has never really reached Thailand the way it has elsewhere, mostly in Europe and parts of the US. Here, we’re led to believe that she wields considerable influence as a fashion icon through her association with Pete Doherty, her cocaine use, and her eponymous line with Topshop. But I am inclined to believe that her colourful personal life, appearing with almost frantic regularity in Thai OK, has more reach than those limp, vintage-y dresses she is inclined to wear.
The re-release of Kate Moss by Mario Testino, now in paperback, will continue to augment the model’s supposed influence on modern style. This book was originally published last year in limited quantities and retailing for a prohibitive £900! The current affordable version will allow fans to view what’s been described as “the unseen Kate.”
Not all of the images are fashion shots, but if you thought you could see anything that could link her to illicit stimulants, or a racy lifestyle, you will be disappointed. This book is, afterall, put together by Mario Testino, the most vanilla of photographers. It’s a friend-for-a-friend thing, mutual admiration through photos; sometimes posed, sometimes candid, not all deserves to be printed. What, for example, does a picture of a topless Kate making omelet bring to her art, or his art, or their friendship?
The original version of the book maybe collectible, but the paperback is clearly for fans, those who love their denim cutoff shorts as much on Kate Moss as on themselves.
Photos: Kate Moss by Mario Testino · Publisher: Taschen