Icons / April 2016

Kate Moss

The author details a quarter-century crush on the rakish British supermodel.

We’ve never met. But Kate Moss and me, we grew up together.

I first came across the model (no, no, not like that — well, actually, you never know, I was a full o’ beans teen…) when she made her breakout appearance on the cover of The Face magazine. It was 1990, the ‘Third Summer of Love’ as the issue’s bold cover line stated, and with this first iconic appearance on the newsstands, Kate Moss became as emblematic of that particular point in British pop-cultural history as acid house, Madchester and MDMA.

The 16-year-old Miss Moss appeared within the magazine’s pages cavorting scantily clad on a beach, shot in tasteful grainy black and white by the legendary Corinne Day. I was instantly smitten — as was, it would seem, the fashion world.

Within a couple of years, Kate had rapidly ascended to bona-fide supermodel status, her skinny, diminutive frame becoming the look du jour, shattering the ’80s Elle Macpherson Amazonian stereotype — and like that ‘Summer of Love’ cover line, harking back to the swinging sixties of Twiggy. Yet where the clean-living Twigster’s lissom limbs were attributed to wartime under-nutrition, Kate’s slender form became the subject of eating disorder rumors, and worse. As the face of Calvin Klein Jeans and Obsession, she became the unwilling poster child for what the press dubbed ‘heroin chic’.

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Christian Barker

Christian Barker is The Rake's Asia editor-at-large, a frequent contributor to this site, and an enthusiastic consumer of fine whiskies, sashimi and classic disco music - ideally in unison.