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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 May 2007, 01:28 GMT 02:28 UK
Fans buy into cool Moss persona
By David Sillito
BBC News arts correspondent

Behind the scenes it was a hoot. The crowds had turned up and the security staff were in place - but they couldn't get the curtain open.

Crowd at the launch of the Kate Moss Topshop range
Hundreds queued for hours ahead of the launch

Britain's most successful model was looking decidedly uncomfortable as a burly man in a cubby hole frantically tried to get the pulley to work.

By the sides, Topshop tycoon Sir Philip Green was shouting a few encouraging words, and so too were a number of the hundreds of photographers waiting to cover the revealing of a window display.

Oh well, fashion is never on time and eventually the curtains did part to give everyone a sight of Ms Moss. Well, only if you didn't blink.

The biggest photo opportunity in Topshop's history finally got under way - and it was over before most had realised it had started.

Inside, Ms Moss walked off to a corner and Sir Philip told the invited camera teams to keep away - she was having a quiet moment.

Meanwhile, unaware of any of this, there was the crowd of shoppers who had been waiting for more than three hours.

'For girlfriend'

The signature look was outsized dark glasses, skinny jeans and a slightly surly appearance. They had all learned well from their style mentor. There was none of the pushing and shoving of the recent Primark launch on Oxford Street - they were too cool for all that.

Crowds queue up to see Kate Moss Topshop range

One chap, who was perhaps not a size eight, assured me he was buying clothes for his girlfriend. He had orders for 17 items. "I'll have to go through a few times as you are limited to five items for each visit," he said.

Another young man emerged later with a T-shirt which had not been designed for a bloke, but he needed at least a memento of his evening.

His friend showed me her haul. She was disappointed, saying that she felt it was over-priced and many of the items she had seen in the press had not yet been released.

Nevertheless, none of this stopped the buying.

So what was this all about? Well, the collection is inspired by Ms Moss's own wardrobe. The smock tops, skinny jeans and hot pants and sunglasses are now part of the High Street uniform of a certain type of young woman and they are all styles that are linked with Ms Moss.

BBC business editor Robert Peston
So far it's been a great commercial success for Sir Philip Green
Robert Peston,
BBC business editor

Fashion retailers can spend millions on getting posh models to wear their outfits, but few are as successful as Ms Moss wearing something in a field in Glastonbury or draped around her boyfriend Pete Doherty.

This amazing selling power was being tapped into directly and many of the people in the queue were quite happy about the process. It was all about the aura of her cool persona.

'I love Kate'

It's not just about beauty or clothes.

This was a cult and her devotees were happy to write '"I love Kate" on their faces even though almost none of them had seen her in person. Nor has she given away any of her secrets in interviews.

Kate Moss in Topshop store window
Ms Moss appeared in Topshop's window at the start of the launch

She exists, for most, only in photos - impossibly glamorous glimpses of an exciting bohemian life. Perhaps that's what's so great about her.

Anyway, there was no real frenzy.

If you block any pavement on Oxford Street you'll get a bit of shoving, but it quickly passed and most of the chaos was created by people trying to get past the media throng.

Shoppers in the queue that had snaked around the block were calm and well-behaved and the numbers soon thinned out.

Ms Moss, meanwhile exited down the escalators, closely pursued by some photographers.

Kate Moss appears at the launch of her Topshop range

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01 May 07 |  Business
Topshop 'eyes US for Moss range'
01 Apr 07 |  Business
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13 Oct 06 |  Business
Topshop rift 'not linked to Moss'
05 Oct 06 |  Business

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