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Is mannequin Moss exhausted after 12 seconds work?

Luffy | Tuesday, May 01, 2007 | 0 comments
Normally she wears clothes effortlessly for a living. But designing them is a different matter for Kate Moss.

So it was that she fell asleep in the back of her car after the launch of her much anticipated first collection for Topshop.
Hard day at the office: Kate seen just after midnight after a party at China Tang restaurant following the launch of her range. Is she exhausted after an arduous 12 seconds of posing for the cameras?

Moss was heading home at midnight barefoot after a celebratory dinner with Topshop boss Philip Green and friends at China Tang at the Dorchester.

Four hours earlier, the supermodel had stood cowering behind a pillar at the Oxford Circus branch as thousands of fans who had been waiting for hours outside began to stream through the doors.

The collection went on sale online at 4.30am this morning, and by 7am, many of the key pieces were sold out including the red maxi dress Kate wore to launch the range.

Kate had not wanted to watch them running down the escalators but Sir Philip persuaded her. It was her night, after all. Together with Green's wife Tina, daughter Chloe, and her own mother, Linda, Moss saw the frenzy generated by her designs. To say she looked nervous would be an understatement.

"Are you pleased?" Moss asked Sir Philip, as hordes of girls in footless tights stampeded past. His reply was unintelligible as he enveloped her in a giant bear hug.

"Thank God," said Moss.

I asked her mother if Kate was nervous.

"Oh, very," she said. "It's the first time Kate has done anything like this and she wants it to be right."

After a brief appearance modelling in the front window, Moss retreated backstage to a VIP area and held court on a red velvet banquette.

Dressed in a red, floor-length chiffon dress with a ruffled hem - one of her own designs, naturally - she was toasted by friends including Sadie Frost, Davinia Murphy, Rose Ferguson and Meg Mathews.

"To Kate," they shouted, clinking champagne glasses the size of vases.

"And to Katie," they added, referring to stylist Katie England, who had considerable input into the collection.

Just half an hour before, Moss's select coterie of friends had been able to beat the crowd outside by placing their own orders on a form.

The favourite was 'number 16', a short, floral chiffon tea dress at £45. Also popular was a long, black satin maxi skirt and a red and silver halter-neck mini dress.

It was heartening to note that, when it comes to making snap retail decisions, fashion folk are just as useless as the rest of us: everyone wanted to know what everyone else was ordering.

Frost, elegant in a short, black shift dress, was careful not to plump for the same sandals as her younger sister, Jade Davidson, who is nanny to Moss's daughter, Lila Grace.

Long after Moss had been whisked off to dinner by a back entrance, the crowds continued streaming down the escalators.

In contrast to the scenes that greeted the opening of the new Primark store in Oxford Street three weeks ago, where customers were trampled in the rush, Topshop's crowd control was well-planned and effective.

Wrist bands had been issued on a first come, first served basis, with customers being let in in groups of 150.

Each was allowed to shop for 20 minutes, buying a maximum of five garments each, while DJ Lauren Laverne barked encouragement through a microphone. "Come on, ladies, you've only got 10 minutes left. Who's going to be first to the tills?"

The last group gained access at midnight, with the store finally closing at 00.30.

"I'll be back at midnight, seeing how it's going," Green told me, holding his daughter Chloe by the hand.

At which point, doubtless, the one-shouldered, white prom dress Chloe was wearing would have sold out long ago.

Topshop has ordered huge quantities of the clothes in anticipation of high customer demand. But for those reluctant to join the nationwide scrum, have headed online to ebay where dozens of items from Moss's new range were on sale, including a pansy print dress which had attracted 21 bids of up to £101.50, more than twice its retail price.

Fashion experts were quick to point out that the collection of about 50 designs, ranging in price from £12 to £195, may well have been inspired by Moss more than actually designed by her.

"She has fulfilled every teenage girl's dream by letting them loose in her wardrobe," wrote Jess Cartner-Morley, fashion editor for the Guardian newspaper.

"Instead of aiming for a high-concept album, she has simply issued the Greatest Hits of Kate."

Hilary Alexander of the Telegraph said those who questioned Moss's input were missing the point.

"What the public want to buy into is a little of the magic and allure that is Kate Moss's individual style. That is exactly what she is giving them," she said.

In the United States, where the Topshop range goes on sale soon, the reception has been cooler. The New York Post ran a recent story under the headline "Duplikate" and added: "The line she's delivered for the British chain Topshop ... looks like Kate copying a lot of other people's stuff Kate's worn before."

New York magazine, which wrote scathingly about Moss and her sometimes controversial private life, summed up the collection which it viewed online in a single word: "snore".

A high summer collection of Kate Moss designs will follow at Topshop stores in June.

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