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The ultimate 90s love story: Mario Sorrenti and a young Kate Moss

Intimate portraits of a star in the making

Photographer Mario Sorrenti documents his relationship with Kate Moss in a series of intimate, previously unseen black and white portraits from the early 90s.

In what could be described as the ultimate 90s love story, a young Kate Moss met Mario Sorrenti – then a model, now a world-renowned photographer – on a shoot in London back in 1991. “I remember sitting next to her and feeling like my heart was going to stop; her beauty overwhelmed me,” he recalls. The connection was instantaneous, and after another chance meeting at a party in the city, which ended with an early morning walk in Hyde Park, the pair became inseparable for two years. 

The ultimate 90s love story: Mario Sorrenti and a young Kate Moss

Now, Sorrenti offers up a vignette of their time together, in the form of 50 exceptionally personal portraits of Moss, all housed in a new hefty tabletop book. Until recently they remained forgotten, but after Sorrenti’s wife Mary Frey unearthed the prints and contact sheets in their New York home, she compelled him to show these intimate, candid shots to the world, some 25 years after they were taken. 

These stunning monochromatic images are a testament to the talents of both individuals. On the part of Sorrenti, the masterful use of light and shadow conveys an otherworldly intimacy and a deft understanding of the craft. Meanwhile Moss’s magnetic allure is arresting throughout, whether she is languishing in bed or staring directly down the camera lens. She is undoubtedly a superstar in the making.

Kate Moss in Kate by Mario Sorrenti, published by Phaidon | The Glossary

Though this collection has never been published, it played an integral part in the careers of both parties. After Calvin Klein saw Sorrenti’s diaries he was entranced, and sent the couple on holiday to the Virgin Islands to produce what would become the iconic Obsession perfume campaign, catapulting both model and photographer to stardom. Moss, who was only 18, describes the intensity and simplicity of their time there: “The photos weren’t styled. There was nobody doing my hair and makeup. It was just raw. It was seven days on our own. It was very passionate. Mario and I were young and we were in love.” The shoot’s sensuality and authenticity became a touchstone for the era, heralding a new infatuation with unadulterated simplicity, for which Moss was undoubtedly the definitive muse.

Kate by Mario Sorrenti, published by Phaidon | The Glossary

Kate by Mario Sorrenti, is published by Phaidon, on sale now (£79.95)
Available at matchesfashion.com

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