Kate Moss, a fixture in Vogue and go-to cover girl for Harper’s Bazaar since the early 1990s, commands millions of dollars to preen and vamp in clothing by Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci.
So what’s the British supermodel doing taking it all off in Playboy?
After months of speculation in the fashion press, Playboy’s editorial director, Jimmy Jellinek, exclusively confirmed to your humble reporter that Moss will grace the cover of the magazine’s 60th anniversary issue in December.
"This is a massive global brand," Jellinek said of Playboy. "You need a global icon in order to celebrate that — that was the impetus. You’re talking about the face of Burberry, the biggest supermodel in the world on the cover of Playboy. She’s the perfect partner for us to help launch the next 60 years."
Shot by fashion favorites Marcus Pigott and Mert Atlas — the photo tandem's first assignment for the recently rebooted and newly upscale Playboy — Moss' pictorial for the January/February double issue arrives as a conscious nod to the magazine's past. Though she was closely associated with the "heroin chic" look in the '90s and initially pilloried in the tabloids as a "waif model" thanks to her androgynous body and gamine look, the model switched into full-on sex kitten mode for Playboy, glamming it up in General Issue Playmate attire: velveteen bunny ears, French cuffs, silk stockings and a come-hither smile.
Moss' full-frontal pictorial arrives just in time for the model's 40th birthday in January.
"She’s a worldwide celebrity and iconic and crosses the boundaries from sexual imagery to upscale modeling," Playboy’s iconic founder Hugh Hefner said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. "It’s a natural for us."
Over the years, the magazine has provided a reliable showcase for nude supermodels with such fashion luminaries as Cindy Crawford, Elle MacPherson, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Stephanie Seymour and Eva Herzigova turning up on Playboy’s cover.
And for her part, Moss — Johnny Depp's ex who's currently married to Jamie Hince, guitarist for the alt-rock band the Kills — is no stranger to modeling in the altogether. The British model has stripped down in the past for Love magazine, Vogue Brazil and the Pirelli calendar as well as ads for David Yurman jewelry and St. Tropez tanning products.
But Moss' Playboy cover slot puts her in the company of such buxom pinups as Pamela Anderson, Dolly Parton and the Barbi Twins, all of whom served as the magazine’s forward faces over the years — albeit with decidedly more hourglass figures than Moss — leading to a certain "one of these things is not like the other" recognition.
Fashion fans were first tipped off to Moss’ Playboy shoot in online rumors earlier this year that were confirmed in June when her hairdresser Oribe Canales accidentally divulged that he had worked on her shoot. The upshot: what Playboy describes as "half a billion press impressions" about the model's first full monty men's magazine reveal.
"This creates a heat for the brand globally," Jellinek said. "It started with Marilyn Monroe on the cover of Playboy 60 years ago, an icon for her time. Now we've got Kate Moss!"
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