Over the years, many labels have been placed on Kate Moss, much like an expensive price tag attached to an incredibly cool piece of clothing. There’s been “waif”, “muse” and “ethereal”, as well as “supermodel” and “icon”. Interestingly, however, the term “bombshell” has never stuck, with critics preferring to award that title to the more curvaceous Brigitte Bardot, Marilyn Monroe and more recently, fellow model Lara Stone. But looking at these images of Kate, that one simple word is the only description we find fitting enough to use.
The camera, fashion elite and wider public have always adored Miss Moss, from her days as a fresh-faced teenage ingénue, to her reign as the model du jour
in the greater ’90s, and more recently as a fashion and beauty powerhouse – thanks largely to 10 years spent as the face Rimmel London and her signature Topshop ranges. While many credit her innate sense of personal style as the X-factor appeal, those closer to her inner circle will tell you it’s her down-to-earth attitude and most importantly, her spirit that has influenced a generation of style-makers.
She has always exhibited fashion wisdom beyond her years (cue Calvin Klein grey shift dress, red lips and Johnny Depp in Cannes, 1997); gone against the grain (remember the Hunter wellie and hotpants combo at 2005’s Glastonbury?), and made the most deplorable of circumstances into a bona fide style moment (who can forget Kate tying up her vintage Christian Dior gown after Courtney Love ripped the train in 2007). And in another rebuttal against the youth-obsessed world of fashion, she is getting bigger and better with age.
This January marks Moss’s 38th birthday. Her 24th year in the modelling business. That’s a mere four years less than my age. If there’s any lesson that I – and undoubtedly many other young women around the world – have learned from Kate Moss, it is to be fearless in fashion and to not let anyone else dictate your style.
Recently, I learned just how empowering it is to dress only for yourself. I bought a high-waisted, ’50s style bikini, coincidentally in much the same style as Kate is wearing in these beautiful beachside shots. Despite my partner not liking it and being judged by his friends at the beach, I have never felt more confident, more sexy, or more “bombshell” in my life. And herein lies what I love about Kate. She inspires a little experimentation and a little rebellion in all of us, no matter what our own personal style. After seeing a picture of her at her 34th birthday party back in 2008 – wearing a star-printed Chanel jumpsuit with a matching gold star make-up motif over her right eye – I remember trying to incorporate starry ensembles into my own conservative wardrobe. As someone who only wears clothes in black, charcoal and white shades (cream, if I’m feeling bold!), I know deep down that if anyone is ever going to get me donning a fire-engine-red mini-dress, it’s one Kate Moss.
Thankfully, the world has not seen even a glimpse of the end of her reign yet. This year, Rimmel unveiled a range of Kate Moss Lasting Finish Lipsticks inspired by her experiences on the runway, in front of the camera and on the red carpet. She has also recently launched a jewellery collection with esteemed French brand Fred, continues to design covetable bags for Longchamp, and there’s her best-selling line of fragrances too.
As she steams towards the big 4-0, who knows… perhaps like these ’50s-inspired shots we’ll see more unexpected reincarnations of Kate. If there’s one thing for sure, she’s a force. And she’s staying. Photography: Mario Sorrenti Words: Jessica Montague
To see the full cover story buy the January issue of madison.
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