Every generation has its defining beauty, a femme fatale who skyrockets and then fades away quietly (or not so quietly), leaving a trail of stardust and broken hearts. What Sets Kate Apart? She’s still number one after all these years. Join legendary singer Sir Tom Jones for an exclusive private conversation with an icon.
The venue: A rosewood-paneled private dining room in China Tang—the exclusive restaurant beneath London’s Dorchester hotel—owned by Hong Kong businessman and socialite Sir David Tang. Kate Moss looks gorgeous, lit from within. She’s wearing a slashed-to-the-thigh dress and laughs incessantly. Sir Tom Jones lights her cigarettes and endures the tobacco clouds. Almost everything he says is playful, and almost everything she says is coy and suggestive. And so we begin.
JONES: [Looks at list of questions provided by Playboy] I’ll read it just as it is, so don’t take the piss out of me. You’ve been the dominant face of fashion for more than 20 years, right?
JONES: It says 20 here—there’s been a mistake. How do you credit your longevity?
MOSS: I think if you’re an individual, it doesn’t matter how old you are, as you yourself can confirm.
JONES: Yes! [reads off paper] Okay, we’re going to play Marry, Fuck, Kill—Marc Jacobs, Naomi Campbell, Piers Morgan.
MOSS: Oh, it’s really easy. Kill Piers, marry Marc, fuck Naomi.
JONES: Can I be invited? Is there a viewing gallery?
MOSS: Oh, Tom. Oh naughty!
JONES: Sorry. [stares off in the distance with a twinkle in his eye] Okay [reads off paper], you do a dinner club. Who would be on your ultimate guest list?
MOSS: Well, I would like to have dinner with naughty people who have a story to tell—like you! [squeals, points at Jones] Jack Nicholson, [photographer] David Bailey, Stevie Nicks, Catherine Deneuve, Joan Collins—love! She texted me the other day. I could not believe it. “Hi, it’s Joan Collins.” I was like.… [mimes dying-of-shock, chest-exploding awesomeness, then continues] My husband, because it would be mean if I didn’t invite him. And Hugh Hefner, obviously.
JONES: Joan Collins is good.
MOSS: Joan Collins is good. Stevie Nicks is good too.
JONES: Another question, shall we? Despite being very present in the public eye, you are a private person. Do you cultivate a distance between your public and private life as a form of sanity, or is it a professional decision to create mystique?
MOSS: It’s definitely just sanity. I don’t want to hang my dirty laundry out for Hello! and for people to know all the ins and outs of my life.
JONES: I feel the same way.
MOSS: Anyway, I don’t get why it would be interesting. I’m not that different. And also, now with Instagram and everything, everyone’s so on their phones that even when I’m in a restaurant like this, where you wouldn’t expect it, someone will come up and ask to get a picture with me. I’m like, “No!”
JONES: That’s it. You get caught off guard. You’re sitting by the pool somewhere and they still get you. I’ve had guys trying to take pictures of me when I’m using the men’s room.
MOSS: No fucking way!
JONES: Yes! One wanted to take a picture of me taking a piss.
MOSS: I am so shocked. There are no boundaries anymore.
JONES: Following up on that, in this era of the 24-hour news feed, are celebrities overexposed?
MOSS: We’ve answered that already! [pauses] I went to Portofino with my husband for our anniversary. We took a private plane from Glastonbury, and I didn’t think anyone knew where we were going. We got there and what was there? Fucking paps. Bastards!
JONES: Yes. I had this house in Bel Air—
JONES: I bought it years ago off of Dean Martin. One Sunday morning I got up and decided to collect the mail. I’d had a few sherberts on the Saturday, and I hadn’t even looked in the mirror yet. I had just my robe on. I came out the door and there was this tour bus with all these people filming me on their video cameras. I thought, I’m never going to walk out that door again.
MOSS: Have you still got the house in Bel Air?
JONES: No, I sold it to Nicolas Cage. I’m up on Mulholland now.
MOSS: We went to see Barry Manilow’s house in L.A. when he was selling it. It was amazing. The real estate agent handed us a glass of champagne as soon as we walked in. White piano.
JONES: Oh, this is a good one. If we were to make a cocktail called the Kate Moss, what would be in it?
MOSS: Well, I have a friend at the Hemingway Bar at the Hôtel Ritz in Paris, an English guy called Colin. I’ve been staying at the hotel since I was 17, and I’ve spent a lot of time in the Hemingway Bar. So my drink is the French 76, which is vodka, lemon juice and sugar topped up with champagne. Love! Two of those and you’re like, “Oh, life is amazing!” It’s heaven. Let’s get them to make one. Oh, you’re on the wagon. Sorry. [Jones smacks his lips; he’s dieting to lose weight before The Voice UK resumes filming.]
PLAYBOY: [Interjects] Tell us what you’re both wearing.
MOSS: I’m wearing a blue suede minidress designed by me, actually, Yves Saint Laurent shoes and a red lip, obviously.
JONES: I’m wearing Jeffery-West blue suede shoes. I can’t remember who makes the jeans, and this jacket is cashmere, from Smedley.
MOSS: [Looks at Jones’s watch] That’s amazing. I’ve never seen one that big. I’ll bet you hear that all the time, don’t you? “Oh, Tom, that’s huge!” It’s an amazing watch.
JONES: It’s a Cartier Santos. They still make them. [reads off paper] If you had never become a model, what would you be doing? Do you ever envision another life for yourself?
MOSS: No. I was, like, a child when I started. I was 14. If it hadn’t happened, I don’t know what would have happened to me. I would be in Croydon [the neighborhood south of London where she grew up], working in a bar, probably. I wanted to be at the center of things. I love working with creative people, and there was none of that where I came from. As soon as I was given a chance—
JONES: You took it?
MOSS: I took it.
JONES: So what do you want out of life at this point?
MOSS: I just want to carry on being inspired, to work and to always find new things. I think that’s it, isn’t it? That’s all I want…to never get, like, “I’m bored.” I don’t do boredom.
JONES: Sometimes you find excitement where you least expect it.
MOSS: [Smiles deviously, which is returned from across the table] Excitement is wherever I am! Nov 14th, 2013
Our Diamond Girl—In 1953 Hef launched Playboy with borrowed money, the unforgettable face of Marilyn Monroe and a mission to entertain the American male. Next month we celebrate 60 years of doing just that, and in true Playboy style, it's going to be one hell of a party. We're kicking off the festivities with the world's most famous supermodel—and the most anticipated pictorial in recent memory. Shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, Kate Moss reminds us why she—and the Rabbit Head—will forever be iconic.