Green's big bet
It was mayhem in Topshop last night for the launch of Kate Moss's new line. Female shoppers were frantically emptying racks and trying to sneak more than the maximum-permitted five-items-per-customer past surprisingly polite security staff.
Kate Moss, giggling in a long red dress stamped with her new retail brand, watched from behind a pillar in a state of some considerable nervous excitement. This was an image of our times.
So far it's been a great commercial success for Sir Philip Green, the billionaire owner of the totemic fashion chain. Even before the 8pm unveiling, sales at the Oxford Circus flagship store were up more than 20% on the same period last year, which he puts down in part to the buzz created by all the Moss publicity.
Is it sustainable? Green tells me that he is convinced that it is. An autumn range is planned and Moss is already talking to him about next spring's collection. Also he believes she'll travel well: the line will be sold in more then 20 countries, including the US (at Barneys).
Moss doesn't actually design the kit. But she says yea or nay to everything that bears her moniker. And the real designers told me last night that she has an exceptional eye (which they would of course say, but I am minded to believe them). They say she makes a contribution well beyond the power of her name.
What could go wrong? Well, the collection might not live up to all those expectations. Or the particularly excitable shoppers currently enamoured of Miss Moss might simply become bored with her. And then there's the reputational risk for her and for Green: neither would wish to see a repeat of the kind of media attention that was sparked in 2005 when she was photographed in close proximity to a Class A drug.
But, for now, Green is as ebullient as I've seen him since he trousered his £1.2bn dividend a couple of years ago. The Green-Moss partnership is certainly an odd one, but on the evidence of last night they are both committed to it.