Moss goes from rehab clinic to Britain's most stylish woman

SIX months ago, her career was deemed to be in tatters after she was filmed apparently snorting cocaine in a recording studio.

But in yet another chapter of her dramatic fall and rise, the catwalk queen Kate Moss has been voted the most stylish British woman of all time.

The 32-year-old supermodel, who is still waiting to hear if she will face criminal charges over allegedly taking class A-drugs, beat off competition from the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Diana.

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Her triumph in the poll by Grazia magazine marks what must be one of the quickest and most stage-managed comebacks of all time. In only a matter of weeks, she has gone from languishing in a rehab clinic in Arizona to being the toast of the London Fashion Week parties.

Last night, it was reported that she is set to make her film debut in a Hollywood film by the Brokeback Mountain director, Ang Lee. The film is based on the life of legendary 1960s singer Dusty Springfield, and Moss is expected to play a beautiful socialite who became one of her early lovers.

Last September, a string of fashion labels cancelled their contracts with the girl who had fallen under the spell of troubled singer Pete Doherty, and it looked as if Moss's world had fallen apart.

But, since then, she has topped a poll of the best-dressed, been immortalised in bronze by the sculptor Marc Quinn and returned to the front page of the fashion style bible Vogue.

For some, such a turnaround is evidence of modern society's obsession. "This is just the latest indictment of celebrity culture," Roddy Martine, an author and social commentator, said. "In order to become an icon these days, you have got to have snorted cocaine or slept with 40 people in one night.

"In the past, the sort of icons were fabulous film stars whose private lives were a bit dodgy, but you didn't know that. Think of the stars like Audrey Hepburn compared to today's tacky bunch. Icons of the past had class and style, and no doubt Kate Moss is a pretty woman but she's a bit of a mess."

Jane Bruton, the editor of Grazia, said Moss was still held in high regard, despite her problems. "Kate Moss may have tripped up recently, but with 17 per cent of readers voting her as Britain's most stylish woman, she never seems to put a fashion foot wrong," she said.

Melanie Rickey, the magazine's fashion features editor, was not surprised.

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"She's had all the problems in her personal life but as a professional she's stayed on top," Rickey said. "She's like a silent movie star. She never speaks to her press but does it all through her looks. It's a showbiz lifestyle that she lives and the drug-taking was part of that, but she's put it behind her now and that's given her more credibility.

"It's not a very good example to young people to think she got found taking drugs and came back better.

"Her power as a 'visual' to sell the dream of fashion is stronger than ever."

The Grazia survey was completed by more than 5,000 readers of the weekly magazine. The actress Sienna Miller, 24, came second, followed by the 20-year-old Oscar-nominated Pride And Prejudice star Keira Knightley.

The late Princess Diana was fourth, while fifth place went to the fashion designer Stella McCartney.

The Sixties model Twiggy was sixth, followed by the TV presenter Cat Deeley, the singer Victoria Beckham and actresses Elizabeth Taylor and Rachel Weisz. The model Erin O'Connor was 11th, followed by Peaches Geldof and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

"It's great to see the varied interpretations of what being stylish is, with such a wide range of women making it into the poll," Bruton said.

The magazine's list of the 50 most stylish British women of all time is in the current issue of the magazine, out tomorrow.

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Moss, a mother of one, is expected to find out what charges she faces in the next two weeks.

She has spent much of the past six months away from Britain following the furore surrounding the pictures of her apparently snorting cocaine which were printed in the Daily Mirror, and is reported to have enrolled her three-year-old daughter at a school in Los Angeles.

Earlier this month, she flew back to the UK to speak to police about the drug allegations. She then promptly flew to Miami.

Her recent 21st Vogue cover came 13 years to the month after her debut on its front page.