The launch gets off to a bumpy start as we travel by horse and carriage to a rocky hillside cavern. Inside, a marketing man informs us that Kate is here with her mother, Linda, and daughter, Lila Grace. He then shows us a film that describes her perfume as "edgy," and the ensuing whooping from the wings suggests that her entourage is larger than just mother and daughter.
We get our first smell of the fragrance, which isn't exactly edgy. It's very floral -- rose, forget-me-not and pink peppercorn -- and much sweeter than I would have expected from Kate. She clip-clops onto the stage in very high, very elegant Christian Louboutin heels. Moss is much tinier than I thought -- petite and very angular -- and much more beautiful. Her hair is a bright, yellowish blond -- streaky and worn parted in the centre with that Brigitte Bardot tousle. Her nails are nude and her exposed décolletage looks a little rosy -- okay, burned -- and she shifts nervously around the stage with a big, toothy smile.
Will she speak? This clothes horse isn't known for her neighing, you see -- Kate is, famously, the mutest mannequin of all. But as she stands before a roomful of international press for the first time in what must be, gosh, forever, her nerves are palpable. We ask about her outfit -- a white strapless, knee-length froufrou frock -- and she tells us that it's "vintage, from a bridal department." She chats about her fragrance with lots of flappy arm movements, blushing and nervous giggles.
"I was so nervous, I felt sick," she says. "I was having nightmares last night." But as small packs of journalists are led to have their photos taken with her, Moss is in her element. She bowls up to each group with lots of buddy-buddy hellos, saying "Shall I just squeeze in here?"
Once our group picture is over, I turn to leave and come face to face with the woman herself. I am transfixed by that face -- the one I must have studied a million times -- looking right back at me. "Ooh, which way do we go?" she chirps. "I don't know what I'm supposed to do." Neither do I. There's no facade, no entourage, no diva behaviour, no frosty ice queen. It's just a down-to-earth supermodel checking out my dress -- until a mean-looking man bursts my bubble. "Can you go through, please?" he says, clearly thinking that I'm about to whip out an autograph book. "I've got to get my cardigan," I say and take off. Alas, it seems that Kate and I are still worlds apart.