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June 24, 2011 10:17 pm
I have weddings on the brain this week. Not just because my parents have been married 50 years today – mazel tov – but because we are approaching the second big wedding event of the summer: the nuptials of the other Kate the Great, and all the designer-related opportunities therein. Whether Kate Moss marries her fiancé, Kills guitarist Jamie Hince, next Saturday as announced or this coming Friday as rumoured (to throw off all those photographers, who aren’t Mario Testino, hiding in the bushes), or some other time entirely (always possible), you can be sure of one thing: whatever she wears will set wedding dress trends for the foreseeable future.
Indeed, I fully expect a wedding dress face-off as the traditional gown, modelled so successfully by the Duchess of Cambridge and responsible for the sudden re-emergence of sleeves, is compared with what I expect will be Moss’s more fashion-forward look. And who will be responsible for this change in nuptial style, beyond Moss herself? This is the question, once again, of the hour. It wasn’t supposed to be, of course.
In February, style watchers were buzzing with the news that while Kate One was insisting on keeping her designer a secret, Kate Two had gone public with the news that John Galliano was her creator of choice. Visions of bias-cut slip dresses, Galliano’s signature and one of Moss’s favourite cuts, immediately began dancing in everyone’s head. Between then and now, however, the designer publicly imploded, personally and professionally, casting doubts on his participation. After all, he has been in Paris, defending himself in court against a charge of anti-Semitism. Previously, when he might have been designing Moss’s dress, he was in rehab. The field, in other words, is wide open.
At bookmaker Ladbrokes, the favourite is Vivienne Westwood with odds of 4/1, followed by John Galliano and Chanel (5/1), Dior (6/1) and Vera Wang (10/1).
Either way, as with Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen and the royal wedding, getting the Moss marriage will be a huge coup for a designer, with an enormous associated ka-ching factor. Those pictures will go round the world – a few times.
While the Duchess of Cambridge was clearly aware of the burdens and message of her choices, and made a diplomatic and clever choice with Burton, it’s unclear how much Moss will take the repercussions of her designer into consideration. On the one hand, she’s a private citizen. On the other, she’s a brand and one of the most watched style-setters in Britain. What she does matters, especially to one of the major industries in the UK.
If she has decided to opt out of Galliano, I’d suggest that Stella McCartney is a more likely name than Chanel, Dior (which is another way of saying Galliano) or Vera Wang, none of whom seems to have much personal connection to Moss. McCartney, by contrast, is Moss’s friend and peer.
As for Westwood, her aesthetic, with its overt historicism and acres of fabric, seems less Moss-centric – the supermodel, as a phenomenon and a person, is almost entirely a product of her present.
. . .
So, ultimately, I wouldn’t be surprised if she sticks with her first choice. Moss is no stranger to scandal and second chances herself, and, though there is a difference between being caught doing drugs as a model (ie, fulfilling everyone’s stereotype) and shouting anti-Semitic words at strangers, the idea of redemption and atonement and beginning again is very much part of her own experience. She’d be a bit hypocritical, really, not to extend the same opportunities to a friend.
Some people may cry foul, but my guess is that if she does decide to stick with Galliano, it may ultimately prove beneficial to both of them. Moss will be seen as having stuck by a buddy and he will get the chance to prove himself again – at least as a designer – at a time when he has lost both Dior and his eponymous house. It would also be a terrific piece of spin control for Galliano, at least in the court of public opinion, showing him in a different light from that of a courtroom in Paris, and underlining his creative contribution to the sector.
It might also suggest a way for Galliano to return to the fashion world. He could come back as a wedding designer. After all, pretty much every other designer, from Alberta Ferretti to Alber Elbaz at Lanvin, Oscar de la Renta and Matthew Williamson, is doing a special wedding line and, for Galliano, such a collection would be less pressured than a full-on ready-to-wear line (wedding season really comes once a year) and less controversial. Weddings, after all, are about celebration and hope and optimism as opposed to hate; they are about moving forward into the future, as opposed to getting trapped in the past. For both Moss and Galliano it would be, as my grandmother would say, a mitzvah.
More columns at www.ft.com/friedman
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