Seven years after 'retiring' from catwalk shows, the model's appearance at Paris fashion week proves her enduring appeal
There's only one thing the world loves more than a beautiful girl, and that's a beautiful girl who's a little bit bad. Therein lies the secret of the enduring appeal of Kate Moss. Louis Vuitton's show had plenty of talking points – waitresses in French maid regalia serving vodka shots despite the 10am start time, models with wrists cuffed by crystal links – but the moment Kate Moss sashayed across the room in hotpants and high heels, puffing on a cigarette, there was no longer any doubt who the star of this show was.
Fashion is a global industry built around the belief that our heart's desire changes several times a year. But somehow Moss has found traction, in this world obsessed with the new. Since she officially retired from the catwalk in 2004, Moss had made two appearances, one for a collection designed by a friend and the other for a charity show, before this one. In those seven years, dozens of models have been crowned and feted as the Next Big Thing, and tossed aside two seasons later, but fashion never seems to fall out of love with Kate Moss.
Marc Jacobs said Kate's appearance on his catwalk represented the idea "that the women in this show were all characters, not just anonymous girls". When Tom Ford had Beyoncé and Julianne Moore walk in his New York fashion show last year, he said that women who are "beloved" in the public eye gave emotional impact to the show. By dressing women who intrigue us, designers lure us into engaging with the clothes.
Many women who retain the interest of the magazine-buying public over a long period do so by constant reinvention, as Madonna and Victoria Beckham have done. Kate Moss is different; her personal style has changed little in two decades. Instead, she piques interest with episodes of bad behaviour – most notably the cocaine scandal of 2005, but in 2011 smoking in public is borderline transgressive – and seldom speaks in public.
Her silence lends her an almost old-fashioned mystique. But more than that, it gives the impression of someone who is quite uninterested in making the world love her. In a world of celebrities desperate to be loved, she is never needy. Of course, we adore her for it. Shocking as it may be, Cocaine Kate is on her way to becoming a national treasure. And the thrilling part is, she probably couldn't care less.