Some women will wince when they see this image, especially those who have endured breast cancer.
Kate Moss‘s renowned champagne-glass breasts resemble nothing like what women are left with after the ravages of chemo and radiation, surgery and reconstruction. And yet here she is, in all her age-defying radiance, pulling down her bra to expose the familiar pink ribbon that signifies the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The image has an undeniable, almost iconic power, but it comes perilously close to bad taste and a lot of people will have mixed feelings about it. Still, it will be viewed many millions of times by people from every corner of globe — and that’s the whole point.
This photograph might save your life.
Shot by Mert & Marcus, the image comes from Stella McCartney Lingerie, and promotes a special style range that supports breast cancer awareness and funding for the Linda McCartney Centre in Liverpool. Proceeds from a neon pink limited edition of Stella’s Gemma Relaxing bra-and-briefs range will help fund a new mammography suite at the pioneering treatment centre named for Stella’s much-loved musician mom, who died from breast cancer in 1998.
But the purpose of the ensemble, and the photo, isn’t to sell underwear. It’s not even to focus attention on breast cancer. Its aim is to encourage women to stay healthy.
“I wanted to remind women that when they wear this set, the first thing they put on in the morning, to keep on top of their health and visit their doctor regularly,” Stella said in a press release. “I wanted it to be the initial starting point of awareness of this terrible disease.”
Using her pal Kate Moss to convey that message was also a bit risky. She’s one of the world’s most genetically blessed supermodels, but her career has also been checkered by harmful and unhealthy behaviors. Today, however, she’s on the cusp of middle age, glowing with youthful vigor and a somewhat unexpected role model — reminding us all of the immeasurable value of good health.
“Kate is a strong feminine woman with a daughter and a husband — a strong family unit,” Stella said. “For her it was important to bring awareness to this campaign to keep families together. Women are an integral part of the family unit, they keep and hold families together and are a source of strength.”
This kind of button-pushing campaign would probably be considered crass in the hands of anyone other than Stella, who is as well known for her brand’s ethics and integrity as for her unerring fashion instincts. As for Kate, she’s not your typical ambassador for healthy living, but she does reminds us that it’s never too late to start anew.
This month, the world will be awash in images and stories about breast cancer — and all of them are helpful. Fashion retailers everywhere, especially in the lingerie industry, are offering special products and promotions to support breast cancer research efforts — and all of them deserve our patronage and gratitude.
The Stella X Kate collaboration is just one drop in that enormous effort, but it will probably be the mostly widely-seen one and it is, on balance, an excellent use of celebrity starpower for public good.
Print this picture, clip it out, stick it to your dressing mirror. It could save your life.
Below are images from Stella McCartney Lingerie‘s AW 2014 collection. Shop here.