As someone who has been enamoured by Kate Moss for many years, I have often asked myself the question why? Why am I strangely besotted by someone I don’t know and who exists in a kind of world I don’t aspire to? Furthermore, what is it about her that has made her so succesful and such an enduring force, not only in the fashion industry, but also as a cultural entity to the extent that the word ‘Icon’ actually appears warranted? As models go, she certainly doesn’t tick all the required boxes. And if anyone had the misconception that Miss Moss had an intellect to envy as much as one envy’s her cheek bones, then all they need do is read her recent interview in the New York Magazine. No Mossy didn’t get where she is by brains. She did once say that she had horse shoes ‘up her arse’ so maybe that’s all you need to earn nine million pounds every year. And for those, like myself, who feel words like icon and legend are used too flippantly today to actually mean anything, well you might change your mind when you realise that a gold statue of Moss by the artist Marc Quinn is reportedly the largest gold statue to be created since the times of Ancient Egypt. Ancient Egypt, point of conception of the great pyramids and the sphynx and the pharoahs. Surely that says something about the potency of her image. Or does it? We do live in strange times, a period where people can flash their surgically enhanced breasts and walk around in stripper clothes and on the back of all that become best-selling authors. But that still doesn’t answer my question, why do I love Kate so?
Personally I have never been a ‘fan’ of any celebrities. Where my sister plastered her walls with posters of Keanu Reeves and River Phoenix and Donny Wahlberg, I took pride in resisting that kind of celebrity worship. I was a pop-culture snob. Sure, throughout the years there have been famous people who have intrigued me, who I have paid money to watch or listen to, I confess to an addiction to gossip magazines but in my defense they were always the trashiest ones. My only real celebrity obsession growing up was Jeff Buckley but he doesn’t really belong in the same conversation as Tom Cruise or Johnny Depp. So when I realised that I was spending countless hours trawling the internet for images and ‘news results’ about Kate Moss, I had to stop and ask myself why. And I can’t seem to find the answer.
I understand, she is beautiful and hip and cool, she knows how to dress and she likes to live the kind of life that only those with her sort of money and status can achieve. She can wear a pair of men’s undies, as she did in Glastonbury one year, and make them that year’s must-have fashion staple. But that doesn’t deny the fact that there is so much that she represents which one must find ideologically and morally questionable. Is it really correct that someone gets caught snorting coke (five lines in forty minutes no less!) and then the next year increases her earning potential so substantially that one has to wonder what it really is all about. On top of that, she puts her name to a fashion line that is apparently designed by a group of people who have all signed confidentiality agreements. So to a certain extent, she is a fake. She also seems to enjoy glamorising a lifestyle that Sid and Nancy would’ve been proud of. Now I am not in the least bit bothered by someone who wants to snort coke all day or drink vodka with their cornflakes or date guys who inject heroin in to the arms of comatose teenage girls. I don’t really care about that, I mean she never said she wanted to be anyone’s role model and she is entitled to live her life in the manner she sees fit. But it is slightly off-putting that when you think about Kate Moss the mother and not just Kate Moss the rock chic-model-designer-icon. Isn’t it? How is it possible that she leads the life she does and still manages to raise a daughter?
But then as I said, I am loathe to cast judgment on someone I don’t know and so even though I am sceptical, it still doesn’t make me dislike Kate Moss. Perhaps that’s it then, perhaps it isn’t the real person that I am interested in, perhaps it is Kate Moss the face, Kate Moss the brand, Kate Moss walking down a street in London with a cigarette in hand and a scowl across her feline face and a dazed and confused rocker boyfriend in tow that I love so much. When its all said and done, my favourite Moss look was her Doherty period. That was when my own fascination really escalated. That is the Kate Moss I can’t seem to take my eyes off. But then that said perhaps this is the real Kate Moss. Perhaps that is just it. Perhaps she is an alcoholic, drug addict, neglectful mother and harlot all at once and that is why when she wears leather pants and shows her nipples and falls out of her chauffer-driven car at six am without giving a fuck what any of us think that I believe it, that it isn’t just an image contrived for the cameras but it is actually this woman’s life. What’s more she seems to have fun. She seems genuinely happy. Perhaps the Kate Moss we see really is Kate Moss the person. There’s a big difference between Kate Moss and Lindsay Lohan, isn’t there?
As much as I am embarassed by my adoration of Miss Moss, I have to be honest with myself, I love her. But the sad thing is, if she were to die tomorrow I don’t think I’d be crying. I think I’d be palpatating in excitement and anticipation at the inevitable onslaught of Moss-related biography that would flood the pop-cultural landscape. I mean what I really want to know is what goes on behind the closed doors of Moss’ life. Does she really carry coke on to aeroplanes in Faberge eggs? And I would be lying if I said I hadn’t more than once thought about how wonderful it will be when her daughter grows up and writes her own book about life as Moss’ off-spring. Now that is where the real juice is at. So even if I can’t answer my own question, I think I will continue to live vicariously through the life of this woman. The woman who once said “So, your idea of a good night is to go to bed early with a book and a milky drink, is it? What kind of example is that for the 19-year-olds who have no idea how to behave? You take this powder and get it up your nose pronto, young lady!”