[written by NG SU ANN]
She’s back. Three years after her last collaboration with Topshop, it has been announced that Kate Moss will return to design 40 to 50 fresh, new pieces – and in fact, is already working on the range – which will be sold in all Topshop-operating 40 countries around the world, as well as on Topshop.com in April 2014.
Sir Philip Green, billionaire retail mogul who owns Topshop, is also planning for the collection to pop-up in department stores in nations where it presently does not trade, specifically in China, and stating: “This may be the launch of China. We’ve had a couple of offers to go to China with Kate.”
Talk about pressure. Of course, our favourite über-babe-slash-supermodel isn’t letting it get to her. The 39-year-old, best known for her “heroin chic” look when she started out 25 years ago, is still one of the highest-paid, top-earning fashion icons on catwalk and fashion magazines, according to Forbes.
The fashion world, however, dropped the ball on this one. News of the latest Kate Moss for Topshop collection was somewhat of a surprise. Like her previous 14 collections for the high-street store between May 2007 and November 2010, this SS14 offering is expected to comprise prêt-à-porter womenswear, as well as accessories and footwear, inspired by Moss’s personal style and wardrobe. Kate Phelan, the brand’s creative director and Vogue contributing fashion editor, and her longtime friend and stylist, Katy England are said to be working closely with Moss on the range.
Now, here’s the question: do we really need another Kate Moss for Topshop collection?
Who can forget her debut, exclusive collection for Topshop back in May 2007, when Moss launched it by posing in the shop windows of the brand’s Oxford Street store (incidentally stopping traffic); when two thousand hysterical girls queued outside the store for a chance at purchasing something, anything, from the collection; and when the pansy tea dress from the range became an instant iconic classic (available on eBay for £249.99, or at least that’s the asking price as I type this).
Critics, however, have questioned whether her April 2014 line might have the same impact as her first sell-out collection. To be sure, when she first started out with Topshop, Moss was breaking new grounds. The celebrity-slash-designer collaborations with fast-fashion, high-street brands was then an exciting, novel concept. Indeed, there was a huge marketing push centered on Moss’s work with Topshop. Jane Shepherdson, brand director of Topshop at the time, pushed for the collaboration to raise the brand’s image from a cheap, trashy teenage shop to a desirable, trend-setting fashion destination.
Never mind the fact that being a model is not equal to being a designer, the fashion world has changed significantly since 2007. Once upon a time, we (don’t deny it) sought and scrambled to dress in her image; when she fronted the boho-chic, downtown cool, occasionally retro, but always always always rock’n’roll look throughout the 90s and the 00s. The biker jackets, the skinny jeans, and the vintage dresses that were so Kate were replicated (heavily, if I may) in her Topshop collaborations between May 2007 and November 2010. No doubt about it, Moss was a dominant, effortless trend-setter back in the 90s and the 00s.
But today there are other style gurus and influencers at play.
Take for example, Alexa Chung, It Girl, also a contributing editor at British Vogue, model, TV host and presenter – this girl inspired a Mulberry handbag, you guys, having also won the British Style Award for three years running, and oh, who recently also wrote a book. Another example: Cara Delevingne, supermodel-in-training and apparently the new Moss (no, but that’s another story), who probably holds more sway over the target market of Topshop, with her grungy, sporty get-ups and wacky personality.
Today is also the era of collaboration overload. Off the top of my head, I can name you at least three launched in the past twelve months: the Kardashians’ “Kollection” for Dorothy Perkins (haha), Maison Martin Margiela for H&M, and Rihanna for River Island (although my favourite was J.W. Anderson for Topshop, but that was first launched in September 2012, so it doesn’t count in the ‘past-twelve-months bracket’). Fast-fashion followers today are a lot more discerning than ever – will Moss’s new collection be able to compete in the highly-competitive, relentless industry?
A lot has happened in Moss’s life since her last collection for Topshop three years ago. She got married in 2011 to Jamie Hince of the indie rock duo The Kills, published a coffee table book, Kate: The Kate Moss Book, and designed a line of handbags for upmarket French brand, Longchamp. Through it all, though, her signature style has changed little. Rumour has it, then, that her SS14 collaboration for Topshop will mirror that of her previous efforts – and after 14 collections featuring repetitive themes, the excitement has fizzled out somewhat.
There is no question that Moss’s prodigal return to high-street is a good thing. After all, she still is an icon, still graces the best-dressed lists, and still has a broad, fast-fashion appeal to a mass audience. But though I love Kate Moss, always have and always will…I’m not exactly going to drop everything and beeline my way to the nearest Topshop store on the day of the launch next year.
Let’s face it: neither will you, right?