Staring at 40, Kate Moss doesn’t lose it

January 06, 2014 - 12:00:00 am

Los Angeles: She rarely talks in public, is appalled by the idea of joining Twitter and yet her sinewy bow legs are instantly recognisable on their own terms. The woman, whose mantra is “never complain, never explain” is unquestionably the most famous model in the world.

Kate Moss (pictured), the daughter of a barmaid and travel agent, will turn 40 on January 16 and although she has been the object of our gaze for 25 years, she shows no sign of losing her place at the top of the most fickle of industries.

Despite her immense wealth — between October 2011 and October 2012 her wages totalled £11.72m alone — and her recent accolade at the British Fashion Awards in recognition of her extraordinary contribution to the UK fashion industry, there are no signs of early retirement. Moss chose to celebrate her 40th birthday with a shoot for a magazine’s 60th anniversary edition, wearing the full bunny get-up — silky ears, bob tail and cuffs — and shot by top fashion photography duo Mert & Marcus. 

But 2014 will not just be about modelling for Moss. She will add fashion editor to her CV and reprise her role as designer at Topshop. She will become the first model to appear on British Vogue’s masthead as contributing fashion editor. Her first shoot will appear in a spring issue and, according to insiders, the photographs will genuinely represent Moss as a working fashion editor rather than depicting the ghost-styling work of someone else.

Alexandra Shulman, the magazine’s editor, said: “She came in recently to go through her rail for her first shoot and what I realised was that when she talked about the clothes she completely understood what it was about each item that makes it special. She could show something which you felt indifferent to, but when she talked about each item you see them in a different light. All good fashion editors can breathe life into a rail of clothes, but it is unusual for a model to be able to do that. To see that made me optimistic about what she will be like as a stylist.”

Kate Moss wasn’t born to be a modelling legend. On paper, with her snaggle-tooth and her 1.73-metre frame, the odds on the 14-year-old from Croydon enjoying an unparalleled catwalk career were stacked against her, particularly as ‘”Amazonian supermodel” was the aesthetic at the time she was spotted. But a chance meeting with model agent Sarah Doukas in JFK airport in New York catapulted her from south London schoolgirl to the model who has appeared on the cover of British Vogue 34 times — more than anyone else.

It is a turn of events that Moss admits surprised her. She said recently: “I was, like, a child when I started. I was 14. If it hadn’t happened, I don’t know what would have happened to me. I would be in Croydon working in a bar probably.” Nonetheless, she welcomed the opportunities the fashion world afforded her. She told Tom Jones in an interview last month: “I wanted to be at the centre of things. I love working with creative people and there was none of that where I came from. As soon as I was given a chance I took it.”

For most, 25 years in the same job is either a stunning achievement or evidence of a career resting on its laurels. The fashion industry doesn’t tolerate the latter and Moss has proclaimed that she doesn’t “do boredom” but somehow she has managed to stay relevant. Her ability to morph with the times runs counter to the modelling careers of others whose features became so closely linked with an era, such as Marie Helvin in the 1970s and Cindy Crawford in the 1980s. The Guardian

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