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UNLIKE the closets of most style celebrities, Kate Moss' coveted wardrobe is not about her turn on the red carpet or her image peering out from the cover of almost every fashion magazine. For Moss it's those moments in between all the glamour that are indeed her most glamorous ones.
From paparazzi snaps of her early days in quirky baby blue Adidas shell toes with tube socks to her recent fling with beaded Versace mini-dresses and Manolos, she has fascinated both the fashion industry and the style obsessed. She's been a muse to designers including Alexander McQueen and Christopher Bailey at Burberry, photographer Mario Testino and endless wannabes on both sides of the Atlantic.
Now, with enormous fanfare, Moss is releasing her own collection of clothing and accessories. With her kind of fashion clout, it could easily have been priced into the stratosphere, but instead Moss is collaborating with the British cheap-chic chain Top Shop. Once again, Moss is right in the moment. Cash or credit? Kate chose cash.
The collection ranges from $20 for a cotton racer-back tank to $278 for a one-shoulder pleated dress. It went on sale last Tuesday at Top Shop in London (where shoppers are limited to five Moss items each). It hits the U.S. on Wednesday. Barneys New York, Barneys Co-Ops and Barneys.com will carry a pared-down selection without the accessory line. The boutique Opening Ceremony in Los Angeles and New York will carry what co-owner Humberto Leon calls "a good selection of the line," about 50 styles in all, plus bags, scarves and shoes. Leon says that his store is getting at least 20 calls daily from eager customers who want "any information on it they can."
The full line will also be on sale starting Wednesday at http://www.topshop.com (assuming the Brits haven't completely wiped out the stock by then).
Moss' inspiration is clearly her own closet, and why not? Some of her most memorable (and notorious) moments are captured in the collection. There are skinny red jeans ($115), which are playfully reminiscent of the ones she wore in a huff, walking out of the hotel room she and Johnny Depp had just trashed. The denim hot pants ($102) are a lot like the ones she wore with lace-up suede moccasins while swigging beer from a plastic cup at the Glastonbury music festival in England with current beau Pete Doherty.
The collection channels her brilliant ability to do "high-low" with an injection of devil-may-care attitude. It's equal parts ingenue, vintage queen and lead groupie, shown best in striped sailor front hot pants, a black mini-dress with rectangular cutouts above the chest, and a midriff-baring lace-up vest. If you're not into showing so much skin, there are more conservative pieces such as striped gray trousers, a sweet '40s-inspired floral dress and a replica of a canary yellow one-shoulder vintage dress Moss wore to a recent magazine party, this time done in a crisp white Swiss dot.
The accessories range from clutches to boots to sandals — all with her stamp of style. Red lace-up gladiator sandals and knee-high moccasin boots have a '70s flair, and a gold sequined scarf certainly channels your inner wild child.
Or at least the fantasy of having your own life of jet-set days and debauched nights. And maybe that's what everyone's really lining up for: the hope that by wearing "her" clothes, we might gain the confidence to dance on a table or shrug off the paparazzi just like Kate does, with grace and, of course, style.