“I haven’t done a proper show show for a very long time,” says the ’90s model-turned-nutritionist Rosemary Ferguson. She’s speaking over the phone from Paris, on the eve of the closing day of fashion month. Ferguson, who – along with her friend Kate Moss – was one of the most in-demand faces on the circuit 30 years ago, was readying herself for a runway return in Miu Miu’s spring/summer 2024 show. Her cameo today represents something of a homecoming for the mother-of-three, who, long before the likes of Storm Reid and Emma Corrin were tottering down Miuccia’s catwalk in kitten heels, served as the brand’s original cool girl campaign star in 1994.
After being spotted in McDonald’s on Oxford Street by Corinne Day – legendary British photographer and an architect of the grunge movement that blew through fashion in a whirlwind of slip dresses and smudged liner in the ’90s – Ferguson was cast as the first face of Mrs Prada’s new diffusion brand following its launch in 1993. Day captured the rangy brunette in grainy black and white, dressed variously in briefs under a leather coat, a barely-there babydoll dress, or fishnet tights and Mary-Janes. The spring/summer 1994 campaign found the model lounging on an unmade bed in a drab flat, wearing denim hot pants and a plain grey tee.
“When I look at the pictures, I see me,” the model says of why she loved the images as much at the time as she does now. “Corinne could be quite difficult to work with sometimes but the energy was really good. [The autumn/winter 1994 campaign] still looks really modern. It was quite punchy at the time for it to be in black and white, [to spotlight] a boyish body. It was about a young woman being full of attitude and it felt really good. It still makes me happy. I’m still really proud of it,” says Ferguson, who confirms she has Miu Miu pieces from back then in her wardrobe at home in the Cotswolds to this day.
No doubt her vintage wardrobe is a major source of temptation for her daughters – two of whom have already followed their mum into modelling. All three (Rose is mother to Elfie, from a past relationship with Barry Reigate, as well as Bliss and Blythe, her daughters with her artist husband Jake Chapman) were suitably impressed to learn their mother would be walking the runway in Paris for a brand whose ballet pumps and sparkly knickers are right at the top of It-girls’ wishlists. “They were like, oh my God, mum, you’re going to do Miu Miu? That’s so cool!” Ferguson says, laughing. “Jake’s also coming to the show, which is kind of a sign of what a big deal it is.”
The family support might go some way towards soothing the butterflies Rose confessed to feeling ahead of her first catwalk in years. “It’s a big stage to step onto,” she says. “I’ve lived a very different life for a long time now. But when you’ve been around fashion for a while, whether you’re active or not, there’s a lot of love there. I know Guido is doing the hair for the show, so I just text him and said, ‘Oi, I’ve got you tomorrow, be nice!” But in a way I suppose I’m actually more confident now. I have a lot more life experience – and I know how to walk a bit better than I did when I was doing it the first time around.”
Pre-show nerves aside, Ferguson intends to make the most of stepping briefly back into her old world of Eurostar zips across the Channel, backstage glam and champagne-fuelled fashion parties. “I’m really just enjoying the moment,” she says, detailing her plans to spend the night before the show taking in John Galliano’s new Maison Margiela collection before dinner at Brasserie Lipp. No late-night dancing in Paris for Rose this time around, though. “I’ll be getting my beauty sleep tonight, the way I didn’t in the ’90s. I could get away with it then, 30 years on I’m not so sure.”
This article was originally published on British Vogue.