As she prepares to celebrate her 40th this week, I'd like to take this opportunity to wish my good friend, Kate Moss, a very happy birthday. OK, so our relationship is a tad one-way (mine). In fact I can't be entirely sure if she knows of my existence.
Nonetheless, Mossy and I go back a bit, and as you'd expect from a BFF, she's wielded quite an influence on the way I dress over the years.
I first became aware of Kate in July 1990, in her debut appearance in The Face magazine, shot by the late, great Corinne Day. I was instantly wowed by her mesmeric wall-eyed beauty and incredible bone structure. Paradoxically though, I was also reassured by her looks, because like the 1990 edition of myself, she looked slightly prepubescent, way before this was deemed thinspirational and a long while before anyone gave a fig about a thigh gap.
Up until then, fashion has been dominated by the Amazonian perfection of the supermodels, other-worldly beings who stalked the catwalks of Milan, not the rainy high streets of The UK. Instead it was those scruffy individuals involved in the burgeoning Rave and Indie scenes, that informed how I and many of my peers wanted to look.
So it was Kate, perfect in her snaggle-toothed imperfection, who ushered in the new decade, providing the perfect bridge between the superannuated supermodels and the grunge aesthetic of the time.
From that first encounter, I observed her stellar trajectory from gawky Croydon girl to bone fide fashion icon, as The Face gave way to Vogue and soon she was being courted by the likes of Calvin Klein and Johnny Depp.
But somehow she never lost her edge. Despite being a world-famous, commercial entity, one could still imagine bumping into her in a dark and dismal club in Kings Cross and that was a major part of her enduring appeal. Despite having access to the ateliers of the world's greatest fashion houses, she remained surgically attached to her Adidas Gazelles, flea market slip dresses and shrunken denim jackets; a look that was copied verbatim in our sixth-form common room.
My favourite outfit at that time, was a silver, transparent slip dress by little-known designer, Liza Bruce, which she wore with messy pony-tail, minimal make-up, no bra and a fag to an awards ceremony. No one else could have, or would have rocked up to an event like that, looking like that. The result was pure Kate; un-contrived cool, a lot sexy and a little bit rock n' roll.
Over the years, Kate has consistently wowed in the evening wear stakes; from exquisite Lanvin silks, to rare Ossie Clark finds, not to mention her extensive collection of Jazz-era, vintage gowns. Perhaps the most memorable being the navy sequined dress and cape that she wore to her now notorious 30th birthday celebrations; accessorised with big corkscrew curls, at a time when flat, polka-straight hair was practically compulsory.
And it's not just knock-'em-dead occasion wear that she pulls off so well. It's her everyday staples that are so downright covetable; the Bella Freud slogan knits, Westwood pirate boots, vintage furs, kimonos, tuxedo jackets and perennial skinny jeans, far less fabulous versions of which hang in my own wardrobe.
Special mention must also go to the Glastonbury/Doherty years of hot-pants, waistcoats, vintage capes, Hunter wellies and studded belts. She pretty much invented the festival look ten years ago and the high street has been flogging it on to the masses ever since.
So intently have I studied La Moss' wardrobe over the years, that I find myself wearing eerily similar outfits, even before she is photographed in them. Now I'm not suggesting that Kate has her fashion advisers camped outside my suburban semi. I'm simply convinced that after so many years of being inspired/blatantly copying her look, I can almost second-guess what 'Katie will wear next' and if that makes me sound slightly 'Single White Female', then so be it.
The truth is, my love for Kate shows no sign of abating. Yes, there was a brief flirtation with Sienna Miller and Chloe Sevigny's style and I've got a bit of time for the primness of Alexa Chung and a real soft spot for Gwen Stefani. However, it's Kate that I'll always come back to, particularly now that we're both looking down the barrel of that difficult fifth decade.
Kate is my barometer of what is 'age-appropriate-yet-cool'. If Kate's still rocking hot-pants and skinnies at 50, then why not I? If Kate can jet off for a weekend in Ibiza, I won't be booking a Saga break any time soon and if she still favours the long, undone hair she had at 15, then why should I feel obliged to go home early with a sensible bob?
Happy birthday Kate. I, along with the great British High Street are waiting with bated breath, to see what you'll be wearing for your big 4-0, and one thing's guaranteed - a knock down version of said outfit, will be on my back by spring.Suggest a correction