On the Divine Power of Kate Moss and Kim Kardashian

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I hope you’re reading this from a boat on the Med, or at least a lounger by the shore, or in the corner of your bedroom where the light hits just right. I hope you’re drinking a drink that’s a touch too cold and a touch too wet. I hope you’re wearing clothes your mother would describe as “too skimpy.” Ladies and gentlemen, theys and gays: hot girl summer is finally upon us and I think it’s getting hotter. Pride month really cranked up the Fahrenheit, and even the quickest glance at the flesh in the Jacquemus show made us all break out in a sweat. Things further heated up as paparazzi caught the head girls of hotness Kate Moss and Kim Kardashian under the singeing Italian sun, leaving the Vatican after a private tour (apparently they’ve known each other a while). You’d be forgiven for feeling a little cooler, your molten core solidifying slightly, as the two women bundled into the back of an SUV with Kate’s daughter, Lila; we really never stood a chance against the final bosses of hotness.

Kim Kardashian and Kate Moss are, of course, very different women. I feel like they inhabit parallel universes that are smooshed together on our feeds. They’re both titans of beauty, just very different strains, different types of hot (though neither of them would know frumpy if it bit them on the arse). I don’t want to get trapped comparing how these two women dressed yesterday, to pit them against one another like gladiators at the Colosseum, but as they sat together in the car it was impossible not to reflect on the stark contrast between Kate, the It-Girl of the '90s, and Kim, the It-Girl of, well, now. Both women have courted controversy; they’re both survivors of the speculation and scrutiny that comes with fame.

It’s unbecoming to google Kate’s age, but she is arguably more of a fashion veteran, representing an old guard, all '90s supermodeling and cool Britannia. She is the original poster girl for heroin chic (yikes!) and embodied a rather impossible chopstick figure, where Kim now offers an equally impossible hourglass. I’m old enough to remember a time when Kate never gave interviews. Never. None. There was a sense that her mystique was maintained by her relative silence, that her beauty was bound up in being unknowable, that mystery is part of feminine power. At the time, it seemed very cool not to speak to the press, it felt less grabby and clout-hungry, but on reflection, it all fed into that icky feeling of women being nice things to look at and men being the ones listened to.

Despite being virtually geriatric in internet years, Kim represents a new guard of women who have no intention of being quiet. The Kardashian empire, in a way, is built on emotional expression, on broadcasting vulnerabilities, on being relatable while previous generations were untouchable. This is an era of unlimited access; in the space of maybe 10 years, it feels inconceivable to pipe down.

Next time you ask yourself, When did everybody stop smoking?, spare a moment for Kate Moss who was so moved by the magnificence of the Sistine Chapel, she immediately went outside to spark up a cig. Kim may have just gone Olympic with her underwear, but as the car pulled away, Kate gave us such a smolderingly hot serving of Italian mob widow—pure cigarette and cheekbone—we’ll all be warm til winter.

Originally Appeared on Vogue