Not all fashion icons were created equal. Think Coco Chanel, Diana Vreeland, Isabella Blow – women who not only embodied the power of fashion but changed the nature of the industry itself and thereby culture-at-large. Undoubtedly among these empresses is Kate Moss, who the British Fashion Council honored on Monday 2 December with a Special Recognition Award at the British Fashion Awards, held at the London Coliseum.
The award coincides with the 25th anniversary of Moss’ celebrated modeling career. Moss was only 14 when Storm Model Management founder Sarah Doukas spotted her waifish frame and honey mane as something uniquely different from the masses at New York’s JFK airport. Despite her young age, Moss had no problem leaving her sleepy suburban London home behind to launch her modeling career, walking a couture gown down John Galliano’s runway within the following year.
From there, Moss picked up the pace as she went on to be the face of some of the most iconic campaigns and editorials in fashion history: the racy Calvin Klein underwear ads of her straddling Mark Wahlberg, her 1999 Burberry campaign that completely remade the house’s public image, magically floating in a hologram in reams of rippling organza as the finale of Alexander McQueen’s 2006 F/W show. She’s notoriously dated Mario Sorrenti, Pete Doherty and Johnny Dep; played muse to everyone from contemporary Marc Jacobs to classic Karl Lagerfeld to countless artists and musicians; and graced the covers of innumerable magazines.
Like any career that has continuously been in the spotlight, Moss’ has certainly had its highs and lows. As a teenager, her thinness sparked both the “heroin chic” trend and accompanying debates about the harmful effects size-zero model culture was having on young girls. Many Kate-o-philes will write this off as cultural backlash that was out of her control. But in 2005 when tabloids everywhere published images of Moss doing cocaine with her then-boyfriend Doherty, there was no escaping fault. The scandal cost her campaigns with Chanel, Burberry and H&M, all of which withdrew their contracts.
But like any careerist that aspires to be in the spotlight for a long time, Moss immediately checked into a treatment center and reestablished herself as clean and back on track. Since the scandal, she’s reportedly doubled the salary of her private company, Skate Enterprises, and design collections for Longchamp, Fred and Rimmel. Now at the age of 39, Moss still shows no signs of slowing. She’s launching her second collection for TOPSHOP next year in addition to working at her recently appointed position as contributing fashion editor British Vogue, of which she’s been the cover girl no less than 34 times. Her career is still growing, her hand in fashion still touching all realms of the industry.
Previously, Moss has been the recipient of the model-of-the-year award at the 2006 British Fashion Awards and, in 2009, was the first individual to receive a publicly decided British Fashion Award – no surprise, considering her popularity only grows with time. Now, with a history of charitable involvements to her name as well as mother to her 11-year-old daughter, Moss is beheld as much more than just another pretty face in public eye. Whether she’s in Chanel or underwear, Moss is known for bringing a charismatic wit and personality to whatever she wears in a capturing way that can never be replicated.
On Monday 2 December, all of the many images of Kate Moss – physically in print and less tangibly imprinted in fashion history – will be celebrated.
2013 British Fashion Awards nominees & winners (bold):
EMERGING TALENT AWARD – WOMENSWEAR
EMERGING TALENT AWARD – MENSWEAR
An innovative and directional designer who is emerging as an influential force in British menswear.
Nominees: Agi & Sam, Christopher Shannon, Craig Green
EMERGING TALENT AWARD – ACCESSORIES
ACCESSORY DESIGNER OF THE YEAR
RED CARPET AWARD
MODEL OF THE YEAR AWARD (UNISEX)
A British model who has contributed most to the international fashion scene in the past year.
Nominees: Cara Delevingne, Edie Campbell, Sam Rollinson
BRAND OF THE YEAR
A leading British based designer brand that has excelled and made an impact on the international stage over the past year with multiple stores, integrated manufacturing, dynamic campaigns and an e-commerce platform.
Nominees: Alexander McQueen, Burberry, Victoria Beckham
INTERNATIONAL DESIGNER OF THE YEAR
Recognising a non-British internationally acclaimed, leading designer who has directed the shape of fashion in the past year both in the UK and internationally.
Nominees: Marc Jacobs, Miuccia Prada (Prada), Raf Simons (Dior)
NEW ESTABLISHMENT AWARD
MENSWEAR DESIGNER OF THE YEAR
A leading British designer of ready-to-wear or bespoke tailoring who has been instrumental in enhancing men’s fashion in the past year.
Nominees: Christopher Bailey (Burberry), Kim Jones (Louis Vuitton), Tom Ford
WOMENSWEAR DESIGNER OF THE YEAR
A leading British designer of ready-to-wear who has been instrumental in enhancing women’s fashion in the past year.
Nominees: Christopher Kane, Phoebe Philo (Céline), Sarah Burton (Alexander McQueen)