She is, by her own admission, "not a proper designer", but Kate Moss yesterday trumped such fashion greats as Calvin Klein, Alexander McQueen, Versace and Mary Quant when one of her Topshop designs was crowned Dress of the Year.
The award, which has highlighted the best trend or outfit every year since 1963, is a double triumph for the model as it was awarded for two "linked" garments – a heart-print 1940s-style dress from Moss's Christmas collection for Topshop and a Chanel star-print jumpsuit she wore for her 34th birthday party in January 2008.
It is also something of a blow for some of the loftier names in the fashion firmament, as Moss's frock, a modest £60, is markedly cheaper than the designer outfits that have dominated the awards for decades. Previous winners include glamorous catwalk creations from John Galliano, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Giorgio Armani.
Fashion commentators suggested yesterday that the award to what is, in essence, a high street, fast-fashion outfit, represents a shift in the UK industry away from haute couture and the designer label obsession of the 1990s towards a more democratic, recession-conscious view.
"Great style is not about a bottomless budget: a high street dress can own its style credentials as convincingly as a couture one," said Paula Reed, fashion journalist for Grazia magazine, who selected this year's winning designs.
"We are living in extraordinary times: 2008 is likely to be seen by our children as a watershed moment – the end of a glittering party, when we consumed, celebrated and indulged ourselves like we were guests at a table groaning with good things that would never end. Circumstances demand we become wiser now" she said.
The award, organised and presented by Bath Fashion Museum, reportedly the world's biggest collection of historic fashion clothing, cements Moss's status at the pinnacle of British fashion as a model, style icon and businesswoman.
"I'm not surprised that Kate Moss's design has won this, but I am pleased with the selection," said Rosemary Harden, manager of the museum.
"She is quite a new departure in fashion history – a model with a very distinct sense of style, which she has applied to one of the leading high street chains, with massive success. As a fashion historian, I'm glad this has been recorded."
Moss's nine Topshop collections have generated more than £40m in sales and, reportedly, earned the model more than £1m a year.
"She is an extraordinary force within fashion, and she is being recognised as a creative force," said Harriet Quick, fashion features director of Vogue. "The Chanel jumpsuit reflected lots of things too. The jumpsuit reached critical mass this year, and the star-print belongs in the Chanel DNA. That whole collection was joyous and youthful and captured people's imagination. It was endlessly copied."
The winning frocks from 2003, 2006 and 2007 were also unveiled this weekend, with Marni, Prada and Giles Deacon all celebrated. An exhibition of a selection of winning dresses from the past five decades will run until September at the Bath Fashion Museum.
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