For nearly three decades, Kate Moss has stared down the lenses of every major fashion photographer. She is her generation’s Twiggy, swinging the fashion pendulum away from curvy models back toward waiflike figures with doe-eyed gazes. Gallery exhibitions have analyzed the power of her face, and auction houses have sold pictures of it for millions
Nearly a dozen books have been published about Moss, which range from glossy photographic tributes to academic dissections of her status as an icon. But a new monograph, simply titled Kate, by famed photographer—and her former boyfriend—Mario Sorrenti, shows us 50 never-before-seen pictures from her early days as an aspiring model. These are the photographs that convinced American designer Calvin Klein that the Sorrenti-Moss duo would help relaunch his fragrance, Obsession—the photographs that launched both their careers.
The early days
In the summer of 1991, the Italian-born Sorrenti met a young blonde from Croydon, in south London, while out on a modeling job. “I remember sitting next to her and feeling like my heart was going to stop,” he wrote about first meeting Moss. They lived like young artists in love—with little money and little to worry about.
Behind his Pentax 67, Sorrenti was discovering himself as a photographer. “There [was] an inherent innocence on my part” he explained to Artsy, “and on Kate’s part about photography and image-making.” He originally intended to be a painter, but discovered in photography an unparalleled medium for making images. Naturally, the pictures of Moss began to stack up: Moss swimming in a lake, or curled up in a sea of white bedsheets, or topless on the roof of his mother’s house. A collection of intimate black-and-white portraits was born.