Saturday 9 July 2016

#GAZELLE: Kate Moss X Adidas X Dad

If there's one thing I've clocked over the past year or so, it's that life has a tendency to throw you intermittent signs – regardless of what you believe, or indeed don't, believe in. This particular one just happens to be quite huge, and very literal.

In 1993 (the year I was born, incidentally) my late Pa – Denzil McNeelance as he was known to most – shot a fresh young face from Croydon, tipped to be the "year's supermodel" in The Times. 23 years on, and it's safe to say you might have heard of her: one Miss Kate Moss.

Although the shoot in question has been floating around the internet over the past few years, nothing notable had ever been done with the images, discounting their original publication. Aside from anything else, my creative-brained Dad never quite mastered the art of business or self-promotion – above all in the digital sphere, which he did everything possible to flee from. He was an analogue man, through and through.

Fast forward to last year – the week I permanently moved to Berlin, just a few weeks after he suddenly passed away aged 56 – my friend excitedly messaged me a picture of his Kate Moss shoot in Germany's version of Glamour Magazine. Suffice it to say, this caught me totally off guard – his work from 1993, published in an article about the old school sneaker revival (my footwear of choice), the week I move to Berlin, in Glamour Deutschland?! First sign, tick. Little did I know this was just a glimpse of what was to follow.

Exactly one year later – practically to the day – the aforementioned Kate Moss shoot is now gaining worldwide recognition, front and centre, as part of Adidas Originals' huge Gazelle relaunch: their 'Remember the Future' campaign.

Naturally, it had been in the works for a few months in the run-up – numerous email exchanges, negotiations, approval from Kate Moss and the like – but the idea really didn't sink in until I spotted it permeating social media networks, online publications and then in the flesh, super-sized, at Berlin's Gazelle Backyard Gallery. A goosebumps kinda moment to say the least.

Like the Adidas model itself, his now iconic image will always be an original. But this fresh remix has given Dad's work – and now him – a new life that I never could have anticipated. And although I won't be hanging up my trusty Stan Smiths any time soon, Gazelles just got given a whole new significance for me and siblet.

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