With a 25-year career and a new BFA accolade, we look at the early moments that shaped her
From the moment the word "obsession" left Kate Moss's enviably pouty lips, we were hanging on every word. Over a remarkable 25-year career, she's covered Dazed & Confused four extraordinary times (first in February 1999, above). She's slunk past a CK-sporting Marky Mark, lent her presence to several under-the-radar fashion docs, and dated Johnny Depp and Mario Sorrenti (the former with which she appeared on breakfast television, the latter of which shot her for Obsession). Kate has flounced down innumerous runways, and done it all with magnitude, and an attitude and mystery which has kept the multi-faceted model in the pages and on the screen for nearly three decades. Last night, Miss Moss was honoured with a Special Recognition Award at the British Fashion Awards for her remarkable career. We honour her glorious early days by counting down the ten best moments that laid the foundation for Kate Moss.
WHAT WAS THE QUESTION?
From Robert Leacock's 1995 documentary Catwalk is this too-short cameo, perhaps one of the first instances where Kate is confronted by the press about her waifish figure. A journalist asks her, "Everyone says that you represent something. That the waifs were the answer to the Amazons of the 80s, and you're 90s. Can you repeat the question back to me when you answer it?" Although the journalist completely fails in his one job of asking a question, Kate handles it with grace, poise, and a lack of memory, replying with, "Oh, um, what was the question?" Perfect.
WHEN KATE MET DAVID BAILEY
Over a cuppa and fag, Moss meets seminal photographer David Bailey and comes clean about how tough it was "to get my tits out" for Corinne Day. Day would say, "I won't book you for Elle unless you take your top off!" The conversation is a hilarious peek into the life of a young 90s model on the tipping point of becoming super.
“From the very beginning Kate was iconic; she never had to become a model. She has the same energy, the same seduction and the same wit – in front of the camera and with everyone. I love you Kate!” gushed Donatella upon hearing the news Kate was to be presented with the BFA special recognition. Who can blame her? Appearing at 21 in a highlighter-yellow rubber skirt, to closing the 1995 Versace show alongside Gianni; presenting the SS99 collection hand-in-hand with Naomi Campbell and just last year helping Donetella’s ‘Vunk’ vision become a reality, Kate’s well and truly bossed Versace and it’s little wonder why the fashion house just can’t get enough of her.
"Obsession…" whispers the Croydon-born beauty as she locks eyes with the lens, boring into the camera. Her Calvin Klein days could fill a museum, and her on-screen presence is dauntingly seductive. The commercial, made by Mario Sorrenti and birthed by idea-man Robert R. Taylor, was a rite of passage for Moss into the land of seduction.
A peroxide-blonde, excitable Galliano throws Kate onto a backstage runway to watch the billows of his hoop-skirt creation fly free behind Moss while he screeches, "Yes! Yes! Wicked, wicked." There's not much more that needs to be said here, other than this clip – taken from the Robert Leacock 1995 documentary Catwalk – is a rare glimpse into the perfect marriage of designer and model.
THE TOP BUTTON
This advertisement from Calvin Klein was infamously banned in 1995, pulled off the air for its slightly ineffable portrayal of sexual consent in a wood-panelled basement – a casting call of sorts. The campaign was reportedly inspired by an editorial Meisel had shot for L’Uomo Vogue. Kate Moss, one such star of the campaign, was asked to "unbutton the top button" by a voice off camera. Her coy comportment makes us glad this clip has survived and thrived on the internet. If it's any consolation, Kate helped CK to garner $462 million in net sales at the end of '95. It definitely got our attention.
THE BIG BREAKFAST DEBUT
No grace is lost on the purest, youngest Kate – once-upon-an-arm of Johnny Depp. Here she is for her first appearance on Channel 4's The Big Breakfast (her second appearance – where she talks about a diamond necklace Depp had given to her that was hidden down the "crack of his ass" – is here). She sits aside an aloof Depp to talk to the host about donating to War Child's Help album. Not many clips exist with the pair appearing together, so this is a real treasure.
Katharina Otto-Bernstein's documentary Beautopia was one of the favourites at Sundance in 1998. In this excerpt, Kate talks about how she struggled to become so in-demand: "For like two years I did like go-sees, and worked for no money," she says. "I was always borrowing money from my mum. She was beginning to get fed up with it and started telling me to get a proper job… It's just as well I kind of stuck at it and didn't take her advice." And did the fame and loss of privacy bother her? "The press bothers me. Tabloids, the gossip. And people believe it, and half of it's never true."
MOSSY MOSS & MARKY MARK
Despite Calvin Klein confirming that Marky Mark and Kate “couldn’t stand each other”, the iconic 1992 Herb Ritts shoot certainly didn’t let on. A chiseled torso, some side boob and those cheekbones came to form one of the shoots to cement Moss’s career and catapult Calvin Klein to greater heights. As Marky Mark ‘seductively’ mouths into the camera “these are the nineties man, they just fit good and they hold me snug”, he grabs his Calvin-wrapped package and Moss aloofly circles around him. After hearing the Boston baller comment, “the best protection against Aids is to keep your Calvins on”, it’s kinda understandable why the teenage Moss wasn’t terribly keen on his company.
MODEL OF THE YEAR
Too much happens in this short minute-and-a-half romp with Moss. The legendary Jeanne Beker (the face of Fashion Television) talks of her first Moss encounter, wherein they were trying to create some cleavage for Kate, swiftly followed by a dated graphic and an award for the 1996 Female Model of the Year at the VH1 awards, presented by the ever-engaging RuPaul. Her tight-lipped thank you speech goes: "I'd like to thank everyone I've worked with over the years. I really appreciate this award."