In Paris in the early 90’s I remember looking out of the window of a taxi and noticing this incredibly pretty girl walking down the street. She was wearing boyish trousers that were too long, dragging on the ground, and plimsolls and a t-shirt. And this very handsome boy was with her, brushing aside the hair from her face. It was Kate Moss and her then boyfriend Mario Sorrenti. It could have been on a street anywhere in the world; they just looked like a couple of kids.
I was preparing for my second catwalk show at the Polish Club in 1995 when I received a phone call from Storm Models.
‘Kate said she will do your show.’
It was at the height of the Supermodel era and Kate Moss was the new kid on the block who had transfixed the fashion world with her outsider brilliance, her ingénue beauty. Normally it would have cost - as Linda Evangelista famously and drolly pronounced - at least £10K to lure a model of her stature but Kate knew I didn’t have that kind of money. This was a typical generous gesture of Kate’s – to support a British designer in this way. She was against the grain and she made everyone else want to be against the grain too. Kate had the coolness of the street urchin with the ability to be elegant. She can work it, and when she switches it on it just dazzles.
Some years later my father Lucian told me with uncharacteristic excitement that Kate had been quoted saying she wanted to sit for him but that given he was 80 maybe it was a bit late. Dad didn’t usually respond to the overtures of well known people but with Kate he was amused and interested. I arranged for us all to meet. They were chips off the same anarchic block and got on immediately. He enjoyed spending time with her and would relay the stories she told him, marvelling. Kate, used to bending the boundaries of time keeping, somehow managed to be punctual for all these sessions, which lasted from 7pm til 2 am, at least three times a week for 9 months. It was a huge canvas, and when he first showed it to me I thought, poor Kate, she's in for a long one.
Now that Lucian is dead, I like reminiscing with her about him, of the time when during one of the sittings, he dared her to ring his art dealer in New York in the middle of the night to ask for mates rates. She remembered how he would grip her arm so hard when crossing the road steering her deftly between the hurtling oncoming cars.
One afternoon Kate came over to my flat as she wanted me to design a leotard for the young dancer Maddie from Dance Mums. At midnight she was emptying my dishwasher and unpacking the Waitrose delivery. I had been Mossed, mesmerized and fascinated for many hours. I hope I'll be Mossed again soon.