Mother-of-one Moss was not at the glitzy award ceremony at London's Victoria and Albert Museum, but designer Vivienne Westwood accepted the prize for her, a spokeswoman for the British Fashion Council said yesterday.
''There was a massive cheer and Westwood went up on stage to accept it on her behalf,'' she said. ''Kate wasn't here unfortunately. She couldn't make it.'' Photographs of Moss apparently snorting large quantities of cocaine appeared in the Daily Mirror tabloid last September. She subsequently attended a drug rehabilitation programme in the United States and apologised for her behaviour.
The scandal, for which the 32-year-old was dubbed ''cocaine Kate'', prompted some advertisers to drop Moss, who has graced the covers of countless glossy magazines.
But she quickly recovered from the setback, securing high-profile contracts with several companies and earning more since the scandal than beforehand, according to fashion industry experts.
London-born Moss has featured in at least 18 major campaigns this season -- from Dior to makeup brand Rimmel.
As well as her striking looks and renowned sense of fashion, Moss has also been in the media glare because of her on-off relationship with British rocker Pete Doherty, a self-confessed drug addict who has been in and out of court over the past year.
Recent pictures and newspaper reports suggest that the couple are back together, and there has even been speculation that they are engaged to be married.
A spokesman for Doherty declined to comment on the rumours.
Other winners on the night included Giles Deacon, who received the Designer of the Year award, Marios Schwab for New Designer, Westwood for Red Carpet Designer and b Store for Shop of the Year.
The ceremony attracted the cream of British fashion, who sat around sparkling, silver-topped tables, sipping pink champagne.
REUTERS SHB VC1116