There comes a time in every supermodel’s life when she must step away from her glamour shot and acknowledge the existence of the rest of the world — if only momentarily. For Kate Moss — she of waif-defining, line-snorting, hotel-wrecking notoriety — that time appears to be now. Not only is she featured on the December cover of Vanity Fair with a sufficiently revealing interview inside, she’s also “created” a hefty book of photographs, due in bookstores within days. OK, so they’re photos of her, exclusively, and the book is called “Kate Moss” (Rizzoli). Still, it’s a step toward adulthood for the hard-partying, 38-year-old gamine.
It’s OK to feel conflicted about Kate Moss, the incarnate domain of both angels and devils. On the one hand she exudes a dismissive air as she rushes into events, shielding her face and stopping for no one. Then there is the occasional quip that, innocuous though it is, gets blown out of proportion (“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”). Plus, needless to say, she’s enviably gifted in the genetics department, an impossible beauty made all the more impossible by undetectable Photoshopping.
But we submit that she is not the horrible person she is made out to be. Are not her ignoble traits mollified by the fact that she may very well be the hardest-working mannequin in the industry? Even after all these years — two decades, to be exact — when it would be very easy to retire (Forbes has her earning roughly $15 million a year) or disappear into the plutocratic playgrounds of Russia, she still produces an astounding amount of work. What about charity work, you ask? She’ll pitch in here and there, of course, but let’s remember that in the muse business, there is no grand tradition of altruism. Models are not expected to go off and join UNICEF like they’re Angelina Jolie or something.
While diving into the Vanity Fair piece, you’ll want to raise an eyebrow and cock your head at several spurious whoppers. Learn to get past them because she knows not what she says when she recalls, for example, making the 1992 Calvin Klein campaign that launched her career and propelled her into a mythic realm: “I had a nervous breakdown when I was 17 or 18, when I had to go and work with Marky Mark and Herb Ritts. It didn’t feel like me at all. I felt really bad about straddling this buff guy. I didn’t like it. I couldn’t get out of bed for two weeks. I thought I was going to die.” Cue entire world pulling out air-violins.
Or this whopper, referring to the anorexia controversy that swirled around her: “I was thin, but that’s because I was doing shows, working really hard. At that time, I was staying at a B and B in Milan, and you’d get home from work and there was no food. You’d get to work in the morning, there was no food. Nobody took you out for lunch when I started. Carla Bruni took me out for lunch once. She was really nice. Otherwise, you don’t get fed. But I was never anorexic.” Apparently, in the ’90s, models would only eat when taken out to lunch. Aside from that bizarre comment, however, it’s simply a fact of life that teenage girls are thin, sometimes very thin. Sorry.
Even if Kate’s great opening up is the reveal that isn’t, cut her some slack. It’s not easy being an aging supe and mother of a soon-to-be-teen. Someone needs to bring home the bacon, after all. Perhaps we should just be grateful Vanity Fair hasn’t put another picture of Kennedy or Monroe or Clooney on its cover.
Lee Carter is editor-in-chief of Hint Fashion Magazine.
Visit Artinfo.com/fashion for more fashion and style news.
BLOUIN Fashion is now on Twitter. Follow us @BLOUINFashion