"Several people have talked about me being so calm," muses Moore, "I can get het up and be sharp and aggressive, but you have to stay calm at the shows during fashion weeks, or you'd just go mad." Moore has been to thousands of shows, over 30 years. He has seen the arrival of ready to wear shows (previously it was just couture that showed), the demise of many a designer ("half decade wonders") and seen the "pig pen" - the tiny space at the end of the catwalk allocated to photographers - fill out with more and more photographers, both male and female (there were no women photographers when he first started). And there are more and more shows to cover every year. "We used to be able to have naps in the afternoon, there were great gaps in between shows." These days, the last designer show can finish at 11 o'clock at night.
Moore goes to Paris six times a year (for couture, ready to wear and the menswear shows), Milan four times a year and New York twice, and of course he covers London (where he is based). In between, his office takes calls for catwalk shots of current collections, or of a show from long ago - Moore has one of the most comprehensive collections of fashion catwalk photography in the business.
Chris Moore was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1934. His father was a butcher, his mother a cook. The family moved down south when he was three. It was his sister who got him interested in photography. She had a Leica and did her own printing and developing. "I was fascinated by it," he says. His second job (the first being in a solicitor's office) was in a photographic studio. Then, in the Fifties, a stint at Conde Nast followed, where he worked for Vogue and House and Garden. ("When we went on location to photograph a house, we used to have a Rolls Royce to take us there.")
After Conde Nast, Moore went to work for a photographic agency and, among other things, shot knitwear for Woman's Weekly, which is where he met his wife, the journalist Jackie Moore. (Jackie was tragically killed in a hotel fire in 1990, while on a press trip to Cairo. She was 58. Today, in her memory, we have the Jackie Moore Award for Journalism.) Eventually, Moore went freelance and he started to accompany his wife to the Paris shows. "It was very different then, you would shoot a couple of outfits after the show."
In the Seventies, Moore and his wife, along with Elaine Deed, then at Draper's Record and now a contributing editor of Tatler, used to share a car and drive to Paris and Milan. "We'd have all our equipment, and I have to say that Jackie was the type of woman to take everything but the kitchen sink," he remembers. As Moore became ever better known for his catwalk photography, so his other fashion shoots became fewer.
Although there may be many more shows now, they are better organised and the progress of technology has helped. "Cameras have improved immensely so you have auto-focus ones, and processing is easier now." Moore tells a story of smuggling dark room equipment and developing chemicals into hotels - he would use the bathroom as a dark room. "One classic year, I stained the bath with developer. I tried desperately to find bleach, which doesn't seem to exist in French shops, to get the stain off." There have been other near misses: the "never ending" roll scenario, which happens to all photographers at one time or another, when they find they've forgotten to load any film, and the missing out of the most important outfit in the show, because film was being loaded. (Even though it now takes Moore just seven seconds to reload, there was one show recently in which all the outfits were grey with one colour outfit. That was the one he missed.)
Moore has his favourite shows - W<, Gaultier, Galliano and McQueen, Lang and Comme (either very theatrical or simple and calming, not surprising when you've seen so many shows). And favoured models... "Christy Turlington - although she doesn't do shows anymore. She always played to the pack and would turn and give you a second chance at a shot, Kate Moss is also very good. Naomi's a bit naughty. Sometimes something gets into her and she just walks up and down and then walks off."
Surprisingly, Moore never tires of the shows, although they still scare him. "Every time, I get a sinking feeling and think 'Am I going to get in?' and things like that." There was a time when things weren't so easy - he wasn't able to get into "many many Armani shows" because they thought he was a spy. Today, Moore is afforded complete respect, both from designers and from fellow photographers. He has earned his place in the sun.Reuse content