Kate Moss has cast the net of her career far and wide – she’s posed for Playboy, designed clothes, she’s danced in pop videos, sung on records, played tambourine for Oasis and was appointed contributing fashion editor for British Vogue last autumn. She turns forty today, and her first Vogue shoot behind – rather than in front of – the camera, is slated to appear later this year.
Nevertheless, her day job is still to model, and a model’s natural habitat is on the catwalk. Moss has been responsible for more than her fair share of catwalk moments over her career – a 25-year career, for which she received a Special Recognition accolade at December’s British Fashion Awards.
Moss’s catwalk appearances today are few and far between: she will still strut for her friends, like designer Marc Jacobs. He was enlisted to present Moss with her British Fashion Award, and has coaxed the supermodel back into the limelight for no less than three Louis Vuitton catwalk shows. Prior to this, she appeared as an ethereal hologram for her friend Lee Alexander McQueen in 2006 and in the flesh for Christopher Bailey’s spring 2004 Burberry Prorsum show, whose campaign she also fronted.
She’s always been a hot catwalk commodity - despite clocking in at just 5ft 7in, at least three inches shorter than other models. That height disparity has led to memorable instances, such as the spring/summer 1997 Chanel ready-to-wear show where, while other models trotted out in kitten-heels, Kate was given platforms.
Her last full catwalk season was in 2001, when Moss showcased designs for Tom Ford’s debut for Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, Luella Bartley’s last show in London, and the fledgling but achingly-cool designer Nicolas Ghesquiere’s cultish Balenciaga Le Dix (as it was then-monikered) in Paris.
In pictures: Kate Moss’ Catwalk Greatest Hits
In pictures: Kate Moss’ Catwalk Greatest Hits
1/14 Isaac Mizrahi, A/W 1994
In 1994, Kate Moss featured not only in Isaac Mizrahi’s show, but in Douglas Keeve’s behind-the-scenes documentary, Unzipped, chronicling its creation. Watch and you can see Moss taking to the catwalk in hypercoloured faux-fur and (understandably) refusing to get naked in front of an audience of several thousands at Mizrahi’s NYC show
2/14 John Galliano S/S 1994
Backstage with Galliano in October 1993 before his spring/summer 1994 presentation in Paris, Kate wears an expansive crinoline stiffened with telephone wire. She was pursued down the catwalk by the sound of wolves in this, a landmark show for in the designer’s stellar career
3/14 Atelier Versace A/W 1995
Kate Moss as Versace’s bride for the winter 1995 Atelier Versace haute couture show in Paris, pictured here with Gianni himself, a close friend. So too is the labels’ current creative head Donatella, who featured Moss in their latest round of winter 2013 campaign images
4/14 Stella McCartney, 1995
For her Central saint Martins graduation collection in 1995, Stella McCartney drafted in her friends to model, rather than the college selection of semi-professional models. But of course, hers were no ordinary friends. Naomi Campbell flew from Berlin, and Kate travelled from New York to take turns in her lingerie-inspired slip-dresses on the London catwalk
5/14 Tom Ford for Gucci, A/W 1996
Inspired by slinky, sexy seventies style, Halston’s jersey dresses and the headonism of Studio 54, Tom Ford’s 1996 Gucci collection defined his career. Kate Moss was his model of choice, hair clicked-back, eyes kohled and slender hips wrapped in barely-there silk-jersey
6/14 Christian Dior by John Galliano, ready-to-wear, A/W 1997
For his first Dior ready-to-wear collection in March 1997, John Galliano called on Kate again to vamp it up in a Jayne Mansfield-inspired wig and cheesecake Chinoiserie mini-dress. The designer was fired from Dior for a drunken rant in Parisian bar in February 2011. His first commission post-Dior? To make Moss’ wedding gown
7/14 John Galliano S/S 1997
Kate Moss’ friendship with John Galliano runs back to his earliest shows in Paris, when a then-teenaged Moss walked the catwalks for free in a penniless Galliano’s fantastical creations. Here, Moss models a Galliano ensemble from his spring/summer 1997 collection, shown days before his appointment to the post of head designer at Christian Dior
8/14 Alexander McQueen S/S 1997
In September 1996, maverick British designer Lee Alexander McQueen’s models walked on water – possibly an expression of his own elation as, shortly after this show, McQueen was announced as the successor to John Galliano as creative head of the Parisian couture house Givenchy. Kate was amongst the water-wading models, her first show for a designer who would become a close friend
9/14 Chloe S/S 1998
Barely two years later, after showing one eponymous ready-to-wear label in a friend’s flat in London, Stella McCartney was handed the reins of French fashion house Chloe. She enlisted Kate Moss as keynote model, featuring her in the campaign in more lingerie-inspired fashions, including this corseted satin mini-dress
10/14 Balenciaga Le Dix, S/S 2001
In 2000, Kate Moss was chosen by Nicolas Ghesquiere to open and close his Balenciaga Le Dix collection, one of the most acclaimed shows of the season from a then-cult designer who subsequently came to redefine the landscape of contemporary style. Kate Moss got in their early. Ghesquiere has just been appointed successor to Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton
11/14 Alexander McQueen Black, 2003
After three years in Paris, Alexander McQueen returned to the London June 2004 for one night only. Presenting an all-black retrospective relay of his greatest hits, McQueen re-staged a selection of legendary catwalk moments from his career in association with American Express. Naturally, he enlisted Kate Moss: she danced a duet with esteemed ballet impresario and choreographer Michael Clarke in homage to McQueen’s dance-marathon inspired spring/summer 2004 Deliverance show
12/14 Alexander McQueen A/W 2006
Almost ten years after her first Alexander McQueen outing, Kate Moss re-appeared in spirit – if not in body – for his autumn/winter 2006 show, The Widows of Culloden. A hologram of the model directed by Bailee Walsh was projected as the show’s phatasmagorical finale
13/14 Louis Vuitton A/W 2011
Speaking of Vuitton, what other house has the might to coax Miss Moss out of semi-retirement and back onto the catwalk? For Marc Jacobs’ fetish-inspired autumn/winter 2011 collection, Kate trod the stage in sex-shop heels and hot-pants, smoking a post-coital cigarette. 'Kate is, besides being physically beautiful and an incredibly charismatic and extraordinary personality, just very rare - if not totally unique,' Jacobs told US Vogue
14/14 Louis Vuitton A/W 2013
'Kate is a dear friend, she has closed many Louis Vuitton shows and I always love having her in the show,' said former Louis Vuitton Creative Director Marc Jacobs after his penultimate winter 2013 presentation for the house. Kate Moss, quite naturally, closed the show, inspired by the idea of a Louis Vuitton hotel and featuring glamorous denizens sleep-walking through imaginary corridors. He added 'She and I have spent many nights over many years in hotel rooms and had lots of fun.' We can only imagine…
Moss’s catwalk heyday was, of course, the 1990s, when she was trotted out – literally – as the poster-child for “Cool Britannia”. When her friends Lee McQueen and John Galliano invaded Paris to take over the houses of Dior and Givenchy, closely followed by Stella McCartney’s appointment to Chloe, Kate was right alongside, on their catwalks and in their ad campaigns.
Moss had supported them all before, first walking McQueen’s spring/summer 1997 show in London, modelling in Stella McCartney’s Central Saint Martins graduation show, and eschewing her fees in favour of clothes to model for John Galliano when the designer was penniless and sleeping on friend’s floors. She took a freebie turn in an expansive crinoline stiffened with telephone wire for Galliano’s spring 1994 show, Princess Lucretia. Twenty years later, Marc Jacobs sent her out in a feather-embroidered Louis Vuitton negligee. What other model can boast that breadth of career?
What is the secret of Kate Moss’ enduring success and catwalk appeal? Her friend, the casting agent Jess Hallett, hits the nail on the head: “She is very beautiful and an incredible model and an inspiration. She is never lazy when it comes to work… She is fun to be around and loves her job. She definitely is the most photogenic person I have ever met.”