Has the fashion world turned on Pete Doherty? Ever since Kate Moss dumped her enabling wastrel in the wake of her cocaine scandal, Britain’s greatest living junkie poet has seen a sharp drop in his indie stock. In the latest blow to his style icon status, we hear Dior designer Hedi Slimane has decided to shelve a book of photos he made with the former Libertines singer.
The $30 high-gloss paperback, called London Birth of a Cult and published by art house imprint Steidl, hit U.S. bookstores this month in a miniscule advance run of 750 copies—a sampling of what was intended to be a much larger printing, we’re told. The book features photos Slimane took of his coke-smoking muse over the course of a year while using him as the inspiration for his latest Dior Homme collection.
“Doherty’s life has epitomized the trajectory of a true rock ‘n roll legend,” the book’s promo material reads. “A feeding frenzy of press coverage was precipitated by his dating Kate Moss, charges of robbery, blackmail, and carrying a knife, jail time, rehab, and admissions that he had been a prostitute and drug dealer. All of this overwhelms the most interesting aspect of the 26-year-old musician’s life—in a business dominated by manufactured mediocre talents, he is a true original, a charismatic frontman, songwriter, and performer.”
Unfortunately, such gushing praise seems less and less apt each day. Doherty’s messy split with Moss, empty promises to enter rehab, and the resounding thud of his debut album with new band Babyshambles—the London Observer called it “disappointing” and “incoherent”—have combined to make his formerly Rimbaud-esque antics seem just plain sad.
Despite the questionable economics of publishing and distributing only 750 copies of a $30 paperback, a Steidl spokeswoman maintains that the book was never meant to be printed in a larger quantity. “Hedi doesn’t want it to be reprinted,” she said. “He wants it to be of the moment. If you can get one now, you’re lucky.” Another rep for the publishing house added that “the fact that the edition is small does not have anything to do with any personal events or sensationalism surrounding Pete Doherty.” Publicists for Doherty and Slimane could not be reached for comment by press time.