Kate Moss turned 40 last week and the fashion world paused to celebrate the incredible body of work that she has created thus far, and wished her many years of continuing success. However, she wasn’t the only model in the family to garner international attention. Her 16-year-old half-sister Charlotte “Lottie” Moss recently signed to Storm Management in London—the same agency that represents Kate—and, in an industry where blood is definitely thicker than water, nepotism has given this aspiring model the career boost she so desperately needs. Or not.
Moss. The name resonates when people think of fashion, and of fashion models. The Moss sisters are certainly not the first sister duo to be serenaded by British fashion media—the Delevingnes, the Millers, and the Geldofs have all shared the spotlight at one point or another. The British fashion clique is like a high school cliché: LOVE editor Katie Grand reigns as Queen Bee, and the British Fashion Awards ceremony is like an extravagant, expensive prom. Miss Popular must always satisfy the same criteria: young, svelte, not entirely unfortunate looking, and with a captivating gamine glow that’s perfect for the cover of British Vogue, and which will inspire hordes upon hordes of shoppers to converge to their nearest Topshop store come payday. Big sister Kate has done it, Alexa Chung has done it (and done it, and done it, and done it). Could Lottie be next in line? Everyone seems to think so.
Young Moss is featured in the February issue of Dazed and Confused, which isn’t a bad place to start. Her editorial, titled ‘From Lottie with Love,’ was photographed by duo Sean and Seng and drew inspiration from the dreamy, daisy-land fantasies of “a young Jean Shrimpton, Marianne Faithfull or Plum Sykes.” The photographs are age-appropriate, beautifully lit, and, for a rookie, it’s important that they aren’t too ambitious. But as lovely as these images may be, I can’t shake the feeling that there’s something utterly generic about Lottie Moss. Her presence doesn’t scream “model” but merely “pretty girl who was lucky enough to be born into the right family.”
After twenty nauseating cycles of America’s Next Top Model it has become abundantly clear to me that becoming a model is a dream for many, many young women. However, when a model receives such overwhelming praise before she even makes her runway debut, it becomes that much more difficult for her to speak out against a system that is designed to work in her favour: slim, blonde, and white. Standing at 5 ft. 5 inches, Lottie is comparatively petite for a model, though that never stopped Kate, who stands at 5 ft. 7 inches, from having a phenomenal career. No model is without her setbacks, but are we seriously going to pretend that Lottie is the heir apparent to her sister’s legacy? Or that she even deserves it? There are many British models of colour who have had to work ten times as hard for even a third of the headlines, and often when they do get recognised it’s only to point out the fact that they are indeed models of colour, like unicorns being discovered roaming in the wilderness.
Boys cry wolf, just as bloggers are wont to cry racism, but this is a necessary and still underdeveloped conversation in the fashion industry. In the midst of all this excitement surrounding Lottie’s ascension to the upper echelons of modelling, I am further reminded that the fashion industry is guilty of committing microaggressions that, rather than embracing diversity, continue to celebrate another pretty white face. At this rate, it is entirely possible that Lottie Moss will score her first solo Vogue cover before Malaika Firth, a Kenyan-born British model who last year became the first black model in 20 years to star in a Prada campaign, will land hers. Even more likely is that Lottie, who I suspect has already been introduced to Kate’s dear friend Christopher Bailey, will star in a Burberry advertisement before Neelam Johal (above), a rising Indian-British model, will score more major print work.
Perhaps it’s too soon to tell but I am not entirely convinced that Lottie Moss is model material. We can’t deny that her recent success has been propelled by privileges, catalysed by all the right connections, and that the girl is the quintessential English Rose beauty that the British fashion industry adores. But I’m sick of roses, and I’m sick of not being able to tell these models apart. It would be almost impossible for me to separate young Moss from a line-up of models backstage at London Fashion Week. It’s disappointing that models with more striking faces, with a more commanding presence, will once again be forced to play second-best to another pretty white girl. And, sadly, I’m not sure that “pretty” is enough to keep me interested.
Republished courtesy of Model News Daily.