Kate Moss in Four Looks (and Four Books!)
The supermodel celebrates her birthday today. Read how the mercurial beauty went from beach babe to skate icon
The photographer and erstwhile model, Mario Sorrenti, can remember the moment he saw the face that would define a generation. “I met Kate Moss in the summer of 1991 on a modelling job in London,” he writes in his photobook, Kate. “I remember sitting next to her and feeling like my heart was going to stop. I was completely overwhelmed by her charm and beauty.”
The British model celebrates her 46th birthday today, and the charm and beauty that Sorrenti saw back in the early 1990s remains undimmed. Indeed, decades on from her modelling debut, it’s interesting to see how different creative professionals have worked with Moss’s otherworldly features. Another Phaidon author, the art director and designer Fabien Baron, was also instrumental in her career development.
"It was Fabien who hired me for my first real shoot, with Patrick Demarchelier at Harper’s Bazaar,” Moss writes in her introduction to Fabien Baron: Works 1983-2019. “Nobody knew me then. He’d spotted my pictures in The Face and saw something that made sense to him, even when the look for models at the time was something very different. (He would do this a lot over the years: discover some unlikely and untested talent and push them to the top of a new wave, taking the rest of culture along with it. He’s always seemed to know what the world was waiting for before it did.)
“I was a teenager when we met, and of course a little intimidated by him. It wasn’t until our time at Calvin Klein that we really clicked. Once again, it was Fabien who brought my picture to Calvin, acting on some creative instinct - a vision that he managed to conjure into being.”
Fellow fashion-world pals, the designer Marc Jacobs and the fashion editor and illustrator Grace Coddington, capture something of Kate’s fun side. Looking back on 1995, Jacobs writes in Marc Jacobs Illustrated, “Every time Kate Moss appeared on the runway, the Beastie Boys’ Girls would play while she walked.”
Sounds like fun! And, while she’s certainly come of age since then, Moss remains a startlingly compelling figure, for both sexes. Our new Supreme book features one of her collaborations with the unimpeachably cool skate brand. Lensed by the British photographer Alasdair McLellan in London back in 2012, it remains one of the label’s most beguiling images.
To see more from Kate’s early days, and to buy a limited-edition Kate Moss print, take a look at Sorrenti’s book here. For more on her work with Fabien Baron get Fabien Baron: Works 1983-2019. To see Coddington and Jacob’s take on Moss get Marc Jacobs Illustrated; and for more of her work with Supreme get Supreme.