Kate Moss barely remembers when it was in the 90s that she first walked for Vivienne Westwood and Andreas Kronthaler. She does however, remember the exact bus she was on when she spotted a fellow Westwood fan dressed head-to-toe in the label, as well as the exact pieces he was wearing – such is the cult of the world of Westwood. Together with the designer duo Moss created iconic catwalk moments and, becoming a figurehead for the brand, she has starred in countless campaign images taken by the couple’s longtime collaborator Juergen Teller. A 30-page portfolio in AnOther Magazine Autumn/Winter 2017 examines the fearless grace of pioneers Westwood and Kronthaler, and would be incomplete without the voices of their key collaborators. This talk with Kate Moss forms the first in a series of discussions circling the heady world of Westwood.
AnOther Magazine: What about Vivienne do you love as a designer?
Kate Moss: Well, when I grew up in Croydon it was all about Vivienne. Everything was theirs. I’d save up – everyone would save up and spend all their money from their Saturday job on Vivienne. So after weeks and weeks and weeks you might be able to get a pair of cheap shoes in the sale and it was like, “Oh I got an orb T-shirt (gasp) – Oh my God! I got the Brigitte Bardot jumper in pale blue, my God!” You know it feels like part of my life really.
AM: Do you remember the first show you walked in for them?
KM: No, but I just remember that when they did them, Murray [Blewett] was doing all the art direction, and the music and everything, and it was not like shows now. It was so theatrical and it would go on for hours – you know, it felt like it went on for hours. I don’t know how long the shows were but they definitely weren’t under 45 minutes. It was more of an experience than just doing a fashion show.
AM: So it was very theatrical?
KM: Yeah and just so much fun! ‘Cause it was always shocking. I mean even when she was doing dresses, there was always an element of shock or rebellion. And that’s why I think I’ve always loved her clothes: even if you are just wearing a pencil skirt, there’s always something going on.
AM: And do you have any favourite pieces that you own, or that you love wearing? What do you like about them?
KM: I mean I always loved, though I don’t wear it so much, my corset which was the first thing I bought. I had a black velvet corset and I put it on and I feel like a flashback from the ‘90s raves. And that’s probably my favourite. I’ve got the Hangman jumper, I’ve got the Seditionaries shoes. I’ve got the Sex shoes: I’ve got the Sex prostitute shoes with the spikes… which I wear a lot actually.
AM: So did you buy the corset before you started working for them?
KM: Yeah, when I was still in Croydon. That was like such a big thing to go to World’s End. Woohoo! And to walk into the shop. Oh my God: everyone that worked there was just so intimidating because they were so cool. It was so cool you know, it still is! I mean I walk in there still and the girls are like, oh my god! They are so hot, and amazing, and outrageous! And you know she’s got that vibe, hasn’t she? Like, she doesn’t give a shit. She’s not afraid to speak her mind about anything.
Kate Moss, S/S13 Campaign, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, 2012 ©Juergen Teller, 2017. All rights reserved
AM: So what about her do you like as a person?
KM: Exactly that. She’s really harsh. She’s a really strong, amazing, tough woman yet she’s so gentle and sensitive. And when you have a conversation with Vivienne, it’s not like just like, “Hi, how are you?” We have proper conversations and that’s what makes her so special. You know there are so many people in fashion like: “Oh yeah, yeah… where’ve you been?” But with Vivienne you sit down and you talk about stuff. Like “How’s your family? What’s going on with that?” You know? She wants to know about your life and you feel part of hers. That’s the reason.
AM: Are there any shows in particular that you’ve loved walking in or anything you’ve done with Westwood that you particularly loved?
KM: The one where I had a rabbit and I think I was naked… I don’t think they’d put any top on me. I don’t know, I was wearing Crotch Minis [dropped crotch trousers] and I think some crazy hairdo by Sam McKnight – a mohawk but it was all curly – maybe braids? I think I might have had a ring through my nose and I was holding a bunny rabbit and… I don’t really remember… I know I was licking an ice lolly. There was a lot of licking and a lot of stroking!
AM: Oh I remember that! That was amazing!
KM: And that was one that I remember: Azzedine Alaïa was on the front row and Cindy Crawford and Jean Paul Gaultier and I just remember being like, oh my god! You’re walking in front of other designers! Because everyone loved Vivienne! I mean, John Galliano wears Vivienne Westwood, still, often head-to-toe! And she’s just an inspiration for men and women, which I suppose is unusual because men want her clothes as much as the women do. And who else does that? Not a lot… not mentioning any names!
AM: And she’d endured with such an incredible strength ever since she started…
KM: I don’t think she’s endured, because she just is. She’s always just been. She doesn’t give a shit. She’s just like, [puts on a Vivienne accent] “Oh, they just don’t get me, this season. I mean, what are they on? They are all mad!” You know what she’s like… And what was it, with Sara Stockbridge, you know the catsuit? Oh! Sara Stockbridge in the catsuit, with the fig leaves! Her and Susie Bick: when I was growing up, that was basically my everything. The Harlequin catsuit… Sara Stockbridge was just… Mate!
AM: I love that you bought it before you even started modelling.
KM: Yeah. Well I got on the bus right from school and I sat behind this guy – and I know him now, Keith Martin, he was a model – and he was wearing head-to-toe Westwood. He was wearing the crown and everything! The three-tongued trainer on the 382 from the Whitcliffe centre down to Adlington… and I sat behind him like [gasps] “Oh my god! He’s amazing!” I mean, you know, it was a big thing.
AM: Wow, that’s so lovely.
KM: Yeah, it was an inspiration. And it was a fantasy world that we all craved because, obviously, there wasn’t much fantasy going on.
This interview was conducted for the Autumn/Winter 2017 issue of AnOther Magazine, on sale now.