The barefoot cool girl, bra-less in a dirty vest. The ‘freckled fawn’ with adamantine sexual confidence. The sphinx of the Britpop era, who partied harder than any pop star. These are the iconic images of supermodel Kate Moss. ‘She had what she had for a golden time,’ a friend agrees.
But now, with her 50th birthday just days away, Moss is in the process of a grand reinvention. In this she is not unusual — many of us begin to re-think our lives as that milestone hoves into view, and none more so than celebrities whose fame has been built on looks that inevitably fade.
Yet Moss’s transformation is perhaps bolder than most. For having left the raucous North London scene of her 20s and 30s, and now settled in a honey-coloured Grade II-listed mansion in the Cotswolds, the former supermodel is trying on the rather less glamorous outfit of a wellness entrepreneur for size.
For those of us who remember Kate’s youthful heyday, when a cigarette was almost permanently dangling from her lips, this might seem something of an 180 degree turn.
With her 50th birthday just days away, supermodel Kate Moss (pictured) is in the process of a grand reinvention
Back in her 20s and 30s and at the peak of her desirability as a model, her beauty regime was virtually confined to a habit of plunging that lovely face into a basin of iced water to clear the head after a heavy night out. She never exercised.
Now, though, the proud owner of wellness business Cosmoss which sells a range of own-brand teas, skincare products and a book of 150 ‘positive messages’, she does ‘everything’. She has a £4,000 Cadillac Pilates reformer machine at home, and personal trainer, Hortense Suleyman.
She walks; she lifts weights. She tries all and every expensive treatment and tweakment — though she’s not keen to talk about it. ‘No comment. Au naturel. Next,’ she blustered when asked about it earlier this year. However, she uses an aesthetician who is renowned as one of the best Botox and filler practitioners in London.
She will admit to loving various expensive face masks and Neal’s Yard essential oils. She also uses a £2,000 at-home LED device that claims to have an anti-ageing affect and makes her skin feel ‘brighter and tighter’.
She has regular juice fasts, and favours the week-long juice-only programme at wellness LifeCo resort in Turkey — she’s visited every year for the past decade.
Sober since 2018, barring a few slips that serve only to remind us she is human, her new life is not one the old Kate would recognise. A formerly close pal, who has been totally cast aside over the past few years, says acidly: ‘The new Kate is a horrible bore.’
Indeed, according to some, the quest to hang on to physical perfection, once so casually regarded, nowadays verges on an obsession.
A friend says: ‘She has a 360-mirror in her house and every day she will stand in front of it naked or near-naked and have a really good look at herself from every angle. She is very critical of herself. Keeping it all together now is really a job.’
Moss (pictured at an event in July) is now the proud owner of wellness business Cosmoss which sells a range of own-brand teas, skincare products and a book of 150 ‘positive messages’
Kate Moss posing nude to promote her wellness brand, Cosmoss.In a black and white video
Moss doesn’t need to do any of this, of course. Worth £70 million, she has achieved every milestone possible in the world of modelling. She has more than 40 covers of British Vogue, for example. But she cannot, or will not, relinquish her desire to still matter in the fashion and beauty world. This year she was named the Global Ambassador of the British Beauty Council.
Having decided to create Cosmoss, however, Moss has come up against a problem. Her fame comes from her looks, not her personality. She is famously enigmatic to the point of taciturnity. Yet in an era of social media power, where much is sold by virtue of talking about it (one of the most powerful women on TikTok, Alix Earle, gained traction for discussing her cystic acne), being a model famous for not speaking no longer works.
Kate’s good friend Charlotte Tilbury built a huge make-up brand using her own effervescent personality, highlighting innovative new products on Instagram.
Moss has gritted her teeth and given three major interviews in the past year, which is highly unusual. She says she is ‘shy’ and does not enjoy the attention. The USP for the brand is meant to be ‘connection’ to the universe — but is anyone buying it?
A first birthday party for Cosmoss was held during London fashion week in September, attended by Kate’s many friends. Guru Deepak Chopra led a guided meditation.
Yet the first accounts filed to Companies House — Moss owns 80 per cent of the shares — show net liabilities in its first trading year of £105,000 with £406,000 owed to creditors.
By contrast her model agency, simply called the Kate Moss Agency, is in rude health with net assets of £11 million. She is by far the most successful model on its books — many of the rest are the sons and daughters of her friends.
A friend of Moss (pictured in 1993) says: ‘She has a 360-mirror in her house and every day she will stand in front of it naked or near-naked and have a really good look at herself from every angle. She is very critical of herself. Keeping it all together now is really a job.’
A magazine source says: ‘The brand is late on the bandwagon — candles, serums and perfume are all quite middle-aged. But she’s been having lots of meetings with people and Cosmoss is stocked in Harrods. I know she has great hopes for it.’
Collaborations, apparently, are planned with departing Vogue editor Edward Enninful, who feels there is a lot of money to be made from Moss and her cachet. The source says: ‘She has done a spa for the [Cotswolds private rental estate] The Lakes By Yoo and the thinking is that she might be able to licence out some version of her Cotswolds’ lifestyle — she’s turned her party barn into a spa space which apparently is lovely.
‘The bottom line, which might surprise people, is that Kate wants to make another fortune. Back in the day, people would quietly complain she never put her hand in her pocket on a night out and she has always been very driven by money. Everyone says she left [model agency] Storm after 27 years because she couldn’t stand paying it the commission any more.
‘She’s bit like Mick Jagger; she’s come up from the suburbs into a kind of rarefied world of the wealthy, and she has this appetite to earn and earn.’
At her ten-bedroom country pile, where the hand-painted wallpaper is by De Gournay, Moss is not only hitting the Pilates machine, but poring over spreadsheets, it seems.
Her assistant Fifi is among the staff who keep her apparently effortlessly Boho lifestyle running smoothly. A vintage silver Rolls-Royce takes the lady of the house on her regular trips to the local health food cafe. No longer surrounded by a cast of It girls and Britpop boys, she nowadays counts as her most faithful companion her pet dog Archie, a Staffie-Vizsla cross which her ex-husband, guitarist Jamie Hince, 54, wanted to keep after they split in 2015.
Hairdresser James Brown, a best friend of many years, lives here on and off, as does long-term boyfriend Count Nikolai von Bismarck, whom she has been seeing since 2016.
Yes, the Kate-Nikolai relationship is back on, though it’s complex to say the least. After a wild time at the wedding of socialite Tish Weinstock in October 2022, they seemed to split up and stayed that way for several months before a rapprochement this year.
A source says: ‘It’s a typical Kate romance in the sense that it’s never really settled.’ An added layer of complication is that she was first friends with Nikolai’s mother, Debonnaire, and the two women remain on fond terms.
Meanwhile, Moss’s daughter Lila, 21, is now living in New York, where she attends the Parsons school of design and has a serious boyfriend, Yoni Helbitz, who works in fashion.
Kate Moss attends the Fashion Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in London earlier this month
The ‘new’ Kate really began to take shape around six years ago, when she was introduced to homeopath and ‘shamanic practitioner’ Victoria Young. Suggested to Kate by both Nikolai and actress Sadie Frost (herself a long-term devotee of all things alternative), Young set about trying to help the former supermodel transform her life, one cup of herbal tea at a time.
Moss explained in one of those reluctant but necessary interviews earlier this year that she wanted ‘to get healthy, and more healthy’, adding: ‘I just felt like I needed all the help I could get.’ In another, she said: ‘I just don’t feel the need to get trashed now.’
Young said: ‘Kate got into the fashion business so young, with no protection, and subsequently has had very little over the years. So for her, part of her journey of wellness is to understand that you need boundaries and protection.’
Under her influence, Moss has got into crystals, which she ‘charges’ by the light of the moon. She also goes wild swimming in the dead of night. Every day starts with meditation and the chanting of affirmations.
Young has also advised Moss over the formulation of a ‘Holistic Aura Mist’ to ‘enhance emotional awakening’, which Moss now sells via Cosmoss. The step changes in her life seem to have been at least partly prompted by the sad early death of her close friend Annabelle Neilson in 2018.
Moss is pictured at the Titanic film premiere party in London in 1997
Neilson was a mainstay of the Primrose Hill set and also close to fashion designer Alexander McQueen. To Kate, she was like a sister. A recovered heroin addict, Neilson died suddenly of a heart attack aged only 49.
It was a devastating blow for Kate, and came hard on the heels of the death in 2017 of Anita Pallenberg, whom she regarded as a mother figure.
Now Moss’s best pal is probably Rosemary Ferguson, a former model who was also once in the hardcore north London ‘Mosse Posse’ but is now a nutritionist.
Ferguson, married to artist Jake Chapman, lives nearby in the Cotswolds. ‘We always say, ‘Keep it in the family’ — the family being all the friends we have knocked about with for three decades,’ says Ferguson.
Others in the inner circle include singer Bobby Gillespie, stylist Katy England, rock star Nick Cave and his wife fashion designer Susie Bick.
Sometimes Ferguson and Young join Moss for gong baths with singing bowls and incense in front of a Buddha statue in her living room.
Moss is also close to the owners of the Health Box cafe in nearby Lechlade, where she likes to go to pick up a CBD coffee — that’s coffee infused with cannabidiol, claimed to have health benefits.
A source says: ‘Throughout her 20s and 30s she was very close with Marianne Faithfull and Anita Pallenberg. And what she got from Anita, apart from stealing her style, was the advice that at a certain point you have to start looking after yourself. Anita was clear-eyed about having gone from beautiful to not beautiful, but she would say ‘I never stopped [the partying]’.
‘Kate cleaned up after she hit 40. I think that was the point for her where she started to put beauty ahead of living the life. She has a really different life now where she looks after her face and guards her legacy.’ The source adds: ‘I think people may exaggerate the ‘Kate the countrywoman’ angle. Perhaps she pulls up the odd veg, but it’s not her day-to-day life. She’s not making marmalade every day.
‘She has got lots of money and she is interested in money. She always made good investments. She has a lot of art fashion photographs, which are worth a fortune. She’s also always loved diamonds. She’s always been clever about owning property. When she was starting out her dad used to advise her.
‘She’s been offered to do a book or a documentary so many times and she never wants to do it. She is canny — that ‘never complain never explain’ attitude was from Anita as well. Anita had stolen it from Greta Garbo.’ As Moss approaches her half century next month, can she achieve that reinvention? ‘I’d like to concentrate on [Cosmoss] and not have to do the modelling any more,’ she told the Financial Times in May this year.
So, can her Sacred Mist eau de parfum (£125) Dawn tea (£20) and Face Cream (£95) really usher in an era of Moss the Mogul? Some doubt it. A leading model agent sniffs: ‘The problem with Kate now is that she has kept her looks, but is in danger of losing her cool.’
One thing’s for sure, however: whether it’s a quiet weekend of wild swimming and green smoothies, or a champagne-fuelled blast, Kate’s 50th will still be the hottest party ticket of the new year.