LOS ANGELES — Talk about a cult. Some 700 Kate Moss fans lined up at the new CK Calvin Klein Jeans shop at Robinsons-May department store on Saturday morning to get the model's autograph. Moss made it through about 500 of them.
There were van loads of teenagers, of course, many of whom could barely speak when they came face to face with their idol. One 14-year-old girl sobbed and nearly began hyperventilating, while a boy just couldn't get up the gumption to ask Kate to the prom — though he'd already waited for more than two hours to do so.
"Take a deep breath," counseled a security guard. "No fainting."
But this is L.A., and true to the laws of the land, some of the slightly older fans used their moment with the supermodel to pitch business ideas and slip her their phone numbers.
"It always surprises me," Moss said after the signing. "The idea that these people would line up on a Saturday morning for hours for anyone's autograph."
They came clutching Moss's photo anthology, "Kate," their favorite fashion magazines and CK Jeans posters for Moss to sign. They brought her gifts, including a picture collage of Kate with boyfriend Johnny Depp and a mix-tape for the two.
A group of girls 14 and 15 years old who have grown up seeing the model every time they crack open a magazine —and on TV, and even on the bags of movie popcorn as part of the latest CK ad campaign — attempted to explain Moss's appeal.
"She's beautiful," said one.
"Because her boyfriend is so hot," added another.
"Because she's so skinny," ventured a third.
But another 14-year-old, who described herself as "obsessed," had it all figured out.
"It's because she has great style on the runway and great personal style," she explained. "And since Kate only works with the best photographers in the world, when you see one of her spreads in a magazine, you know that those are the best clothes."
"It makes you think," Moss said of her role-model status, "but you can't change your life because of it. But I don't think I'm such a bad role model, anyway."
Which means that when she's in L.A., she keeps a pretty low profile at places such as Beverly Hot Springs, Fred Segal and Magic Mountain. Maybe it's a little different in London.
"Everyone is going out there now, and there are new bands and new clubs everywhere," she said. "London needed it. It's easy for the British to get stuck in a rut."
Camden and Portobello Market, she confided, are always good places to shop for the supermodel look.
As she left the better sports department at Robinsons-May with bodyguards in tow, the fans pressed past the velvet ropes and grabbed up anything they could from the signing table: a box of tissues, a vase and a couple of pens.