There have been few breaking points in the modeling industry as dramatic as the one that occurred in the early ’90s: after a decade of strong, fit, buxom Amazons with big personalities–Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, Nadja Auermann, Eva Herzigova, Emma Sjöberg–a shy, scrawny, wide-eyed teenager standing just 5’7” named Kate Moss ushered in a new figure for fashion types to lionize: one seemingly in the terminal stages of heroin addiction. Moss was dubbed the “anti-supermodel,” and notoriously gritty Calvin Klein campaigns followed. Though she was (and remains) a phenomenal model, it wasn’t a high point in fashion.
Anyway, Moss is on the cover of Vanity Fair‘s December issue (continuing to remind us why she achieved actual–not “anti”–supermodel status) and discussing all manner of personal subjects from her “years of crying over Johnny Depp” to the trauma of straddling Mark Wahlberg.
The subject of the heroin chic movement comes up, though, and Moss insists that 1) she never did heroin and 2) she was just working too much to eat:
Despite immediately becoming a poster girl for “heroin chic” after those early photo shoots, “I had never even taken heroin—it was nothing to do with me at all,” Moss says. “I think Corinne [Day, the photographer credited with kickstarting Moss' career]—she wasn’t on heroin but always loved that Lou Reed song, that whole glamorizing the squat, white-and-black and sparse and thin, and girls with dark eyes. She loved that look. I was thin, but that’s because I was doing shows, working really hard. At that time, I was staying at a B and B in Milan, and you’d get home from work and there was no food. You’d get to work in the morning, there was no food. Nobody took you out for lunch when I started. Carla Bruni took me out for lunch once. She was really nice. Otherwise, you don’t get fed. But I was never anorexic. They knew it wasn’t true—otherwise I wouldn’t be able to work.”
So there you have it: Corinne Day, like all good teenagers ever, thought heroin was cool because of Lou Reed. Oh, and even the great Kate Moss was once overworked, underpaid and consequently underfed–so the modeling industry hasn’t changed in that regard.
On a nicer note, Moss still photographs like no other, as you can see form the Mert & Marcus-lensed shoot: