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Kate Moss: The Supermodel Talks about Her High Jewelry Collaboration with Messika

Kate Moss is a magpie of the beadiest-eyed variety. As soon as I step into her Soho modeling agency, where our interview takes place, she clocks my earrings and correctly identifies their designer: “I was there yesterday, I love her stuff.”

The 46-year-old supermodel is sun-kissed in flared jeans and a silky black shirt, having spent lockdown at her Cotswold home with her 18-year-old daughter, Lila Grace; her boyfriend of five years, photographer Nikolai von Bismarck; her half-sister, Lottie; and her best friend, hairdresser James Brown. She is relieved to be back in Soho during the late-summer buzz, but admits she has found easing out of lockdown difficult. “I didn’t want to see anybody at first. I was like, ‘What do you mean I’ve got to go to a dinner?’”

Now, she’s back in London, attending Fashion Week parties and popping into Alfies Antique Market to browse for vintage jewelry, a favorite pastime. “I bought these yesterday,” she says, shaking her head so her new earrings shimmy. “I can’t walk in there without going, ‘Ooh, just one little pair...”’ She is also wearing a diamond pendant by Annina Vogel, a diamond ring she bought in Istanbul, a couple of Indian bangles and, on the third finger of her left hand, a vintage emerald and diamond ring, the one piece that she wears every day. It was a gift “from the boyfriend,” but it’s categorically not an engagement ring. “Oh, no, I’m not engaged. It’s more like, I’m in a relationship, I’m committed. I think after you’ve been married, that finger feels a bit empty. It was an ‘I’m going out with you, and I have a very empty finger, so give me a ring’ kind of present,” Kate cackles.

Among her vintage treasures are several pieces from her own new jewelry collaboration with Messika. Kate fronted the Parisian brand’s 2019 campaign, alongside Joan Smalls and Sylvia Hoeks, and instantly hit it off with founder Valérie Messika. Although she has previously designed collections with the Brazilian jeweler Ara Vartanian in 2017, and with the French house Fred, in 2011, this partnership is Kate’s most personal, inspired by her own much-loved jewelry.

“I brought a couple of boxes along to our first meeting, and we had a lot of fun looking through it all,” she says. “Valérie was surprised when she saw that most of my jewelry is antique, she thought I would be more rock ‘n’ roll, and I’m not really. My style is much more bohemian and eclectic.”

That presented a challenge for Messika, whose knife-sharp contemporary diamond designs are worn by the likes of Beyoncé, Bella Hadid, and Emily Ratajkowski. In 2017, the brand enlisted Gigi Hadid to co-create an ‘entry-level’ range that Kate says her daughter adores, but the Messika by Kate Moss collection comprises seriously high value, high jewelry, with prices strictly on application, but ranging from five to six figures.

An art deco chapter features geometric, baguette-cut diamonds --Kate’s favorite-- set in yellow-gold hoop earrings, rings, bracelets and chokers. “I have a lot of art deco pieces; I love the decadence of that era. I’m also really into that 1970s, hippy-deluxe kind of decadence.” Which explains the diamond-set headpiece, with a fringe of baguettes resting between the brows, inspired by an Annie Leibovitz image of Kate taken in 1999. There’s another nod to her modeling heyday in slinky strands of diamonds, seemingly loosely tied around the neck, finger or wrist, a precious riff on the piece of leather she wore in a 1990s Peter Lindbergh shoot.

Elsewhere, Messika recreated a 1920s glass bead tassel necklace in “metres of diamonds -- it’s so cool.” Kate’s passion for emeralds parlays into a suite featuring rich green malachite, while her love of Indian jewelry is evident in huge diamond bib necklaces, an earring connected via diamond chains to a nose ring, and a tasselled lapel pin worthy of a maharaja.

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From top to bottom / right image:

Messika Paris, Clip Oreille Malachite Colour Play,

Messika by Kate Moss High Jewelry, Malachite Colour Play Ring & Necklace

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From top to bottom / right image:

Messika by Kate Moss High Jewelry

Exotic Charm Necklace, Cuff Bracelet and Boucles d’oreilles Exotic Charm

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Messika by Kate Moss High Jewelry

Liberated Spirit Ankle Bracelet (left)

Liberated Spirit Necklace & Liberated Spirit Tie Necklace (right)

Kate first discovered Indian jewelry when she went traveling there at 22. “I went to Jaipur and Rajasthan; all the girls were covered in incredible jewelry. I started buying loads of it. I bought a beautiful Gucci jewelry roll to store it all in, and when I got home, I said to my friend, ‘Wait until you see the jewelry I got in India.’ But it was all gone --stolen. That was pretty depressing. There were things in there that I still think about.”

That’s not her only jewelry-related heartbreak. Her grandmother’s wedding ring --the only ‘heirloom’ she’s ever had-- was also stolen, as was a Cartier art deco bracelet she had bought at SJ Phillips in London, although that one made its way back to her. “I always take jewelry on holiday. I love wearing it on the beach and in the sea; I think it’s so decadent,” says Kate. ‘I’d taken this bracelet on a boat in Thailand and somebody nicked it. They sold it to someone in India, who came to London and sold it back to SJ Phillips. It was stamped, so they could identify it as mine; they called me and said, “We’ve got your bracelet,” and gave it back to me.”

Kate used to visit the antique jewelry specialist every birthday to pick out something new. Fortunately von Bismarck, who shot the Messika by Kate Moss campaign, is a willing benefactor. “I like going jewelry shopping with Nikolai ---he’s into it. I think some men take just as much pleasure in giving jewelry as we do in receiving it.” He’s not into jewelry for men though. “I like it when men wear jewellery, such as a nice chain, but I can’t imagine Nikolai in it. It’s definitely not his thing.”

Another of Kate’s most precious personal pieces is from her ex, Lila’s father, Jefferson Hack. “When I gave birth to Lila, Jefferson bought me a diamond eternity ring, which is gorgeous. I’ll give it to her one day. She likes all the girly jewelry; she’s not into antiques yet, so my jewelry is safe, for the moment.”

It seems the majority of her collection was self-gifted, an ethos in line with that of Valérie Messika, whose aim was to create a contemporary diamond jewelry brand not linked to love or marriage. “I buy a lot for myself,” Kate admits. “Sometimes it’s to mark a milestone, but most of the time, it’s just when I see something that catches my eye. I’ve got a big rose-cut diamond ring that’s quite a statement piece,” she laughs. “I bought it as a bit of a celebration, a present to myself because I’d achieved something.”

There’s more common ground in Messika’s mission to make diamonds wearable. Valérie Messika herself is no stranger to pairing high jewelry with jeans or a jumpsuit, and Kate clearly follows suit. “I don’t want to be intimidated by jewelry, I want to feel like it’s part of me. Even my big pieces I’ll wear all the time. I don’t want them to be kept in a box.”

As Kate coos over the jewelry I’m wearing and we swap favorite designers, it’s clear that this is a genuine obsession for the Croydon-born model. Where does it stem from? “Not ever having any,” she says quickly. “I was so desperate for a ring when I was little, I’d always leave the smallest Christmas present till last, hoping and praying that it was a jewelry box, but it never was. I know, poor me!”

That might explain her preference for wearing her own jewels on the red carpet, although she’s not averse to borrowing from brands --on one condition: “I won’t do it if I have to have a security guard following me. No way. My friend did it once, and as soon as the party was over, they were standing at the door waiting to get the jewelry off her. It’s so embarrassing. You get into the car and you’ve got nothing on. That’s awful!”

For more information, visit for their latest Christmas and holiday season collection and specials.

Words by Sarah Royce-Greensill, The Telegraph/The Interview People

Valerie Messika & Kate Moss Photos by Chriss Colls


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