Being presented with no—well, few—parameters was a rarity for the fashion photographers, who accepted the invitation for experimentation. Knight, for one, played with several ideas. He scanned Kate’s entire body—“all her contours and bumps and lumps”—in 3-D, and also photographed himself holding a gun, making a visual pun on the phrase “Nick Knight shoots Kate Moss,” before settling on a different kind of word play: He superimposed snapshots of Kate and a neon sign blaring ICON over a religious icon. When Steven Klein’s original idea unraveled (“I wanted to tie Kate up,” Klein says. “She was into it. Dennis wasn’t”), he was momentarily stuck. Then he noticed the Polaroids that his 24-year-old studio assistant, Zan Ludlum, had brought from home in the hope she could get her idol to sign them. The shots were of her bedroom walls, covered with glossy pictures of Kate that Zan had been faithfully collecting since she was 13. The effect was something more often associated with serial killers in popcorn movies, but the Polaroids inspired Klein to photograph Zan’s room as a poignant stand-in for the supermodel and her cultural resonance.
Mario Sorrenti, on the other hand, offered a lesson in Fashion Photography 101, putting Kate in a beautiful dress (Lanvin), in a beautiful location (under the azalea bush in his garden), with beautiful lighting. For Sorrenti, the day felt something like a family reunion; he and Kate worked at his home, ate lunch together and talked. “We were just catching up on our lives, how funny it is to be growing up,” he says. The two met and fell in love as teenagers, and their careers soon took off together, he playing out his photographic fantasies with her as his muse.
“It wasn’t something that was conscious,” Sorrenti says, no doubt speaking for many of his peers as well. “I just loved taking pictures of her.”