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Wow, a model market!

From John Abraham?s denim line to Elle Macpherson?s lingerie range, models are making the shift from the runway to taking the bow as designers

india Updated: Feb 19, 2007 19:45 IST
HT Cafe
HT Cafe

Late last year, the actor launched the John Abraham line of denims with as much fanfare as he puts into his signature cuts and button flies.

Now, the hottest new British fashion designer of 2007 is not, as you might expect, some kooky young prodigy fresh out of Central St Martins. In fact, she has no design training at all (and, by all accounts, can't draw for toffee).

She has, however, spent nearly two decades at the epicentre of the fashion industry, notching up 23 Vogue covers and a few million in the bank along the way. She is, of course, Kate Moss.

KATE MOSS: After the coke trail, she has designs on Topshop.

Back in September last year, when Moss’s new role as designer of her own Topshop range was still just an unconfirmed rumour, it had already attracted the kind of column inches most British designers spend their careers dreaming of.

When the 90-piece range finally hits stores on May 1 this year, scenes of mass hysteria are pretty much guaranteed. Few have thought to debate Moss’ transition from wearing clothes to designing them: she is, after all, simply the latest and most high profile example of a growing trend.

Elle Macpherson long ago graduated from life as a supermodel to being head of a thriving empire. Jovovich-Hawk, designed by Milla Jovovich and Carmen Hawk — both successful models — has in the past 18 months become one of the most critically acclaimed small labels at the New York fashion week.

A stint on the catwalk is starting to look like a better leg-up than an eye-catching degree show or an internship at Armani.

Moss is as famous for her wardrobe, these days, as she was for her waif-like figure 15 years ago. She has a very finely tuned instinct for spotting a trend early.

Combined with the ability to impart sex appeal to the most unlikely garments, she creates a virtuous circle: she spots something that could become a trend, she wears it, and by wearing it she guarantees it catches on. She even poured glamour into Hunter Wellies, favoured footwear of pig farmers and fishermen, when she sported them backstage at a music festival.

Macpherson is not the first model to cross over to designing — Twiggy put her name to a range of dresses in the 1960s — but her success as a businesswoman has altered perceptions of life beyond the catwalk.

Many say the “model” ranges are symptomatic of a “dumbing down” of fashion. Either way, it doesn’t seem like celebrities are going to be satisfied with just walking for their designers. They want to take the bow as well.

First Published: Feb 19, 2007 19:45 IST