BIRTHDAY – The halls and bars of Claridge’s hotel, London, are all but deserted. Night cleaners move discreetly around a solitary guest who nurses an unfinished drink.
Claridge in London
In an instant, the calm is shattered, as Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood bursts into the lobby. His voice bouncing off each marble surface, he announces to everybody and nobody, ‘We’re in f***ing Claridge’s.’
It’s Saturday January 17, 2004, and it’s 2.30am. Kate Moss‘s 30th birthday party is in full swing.
What a Difference Two Decades Make
Earlier this week the supermodel turned ‘spiritual warrior’, a newly minted lifestyle guru, alcohol-free and glowing today despite her infamous hard living of yesteryear, marked her half century with a series of celebrations.
A girls’ trip to the Caribbean was followed, last Tuesday, by an evening of dinner and dancing at Laurent restaurant in Paris.
Celebrity guests were seen leaving the opulent venue — which had transformed into a nightclub with makeshift catwalk for the occasion — then climbing into taxis at 2am.
Big Plan For Her 50th Birthday
According to reports, Kate wanted her 50th birthday to be a ‘night to remember’ — or perhaps, more accurately, a night she and her guests could remember.
Because when it comes to unforgettable, well, you can forget your seaside rituals in Mustique and elegant soirees in Paris.
The one for the cultural history books, the party that is still spoken of as one of the most decadent London has ever seen, is the one that took place 20 years ago: Kate’s 30th.
And I should know: I was there.
Statement From Witness
As a night porter showed Ronnie Wood, along with his then-wife Jo and daughter Leah, to the lift that morning, I started the climb up the stairs to the seventh floor and the penthouse suite where Kate and her closest friends would party until long after dawn.
The theme was The Beautiful And Damned and Kate styled herself after Gloria Gilbert, the spoilt, beautiful creature who marries Anthony Patch in F Scott Fitzgerald’s book of that title.
Described as a girl who ‘goes, goes, goes’, who smokes, flirts and sunbathes, who dances all afternoon and night, is exquisitely beautiful, unaffected and spontaneous, it’s not much of a reach to see why the Kate of those days might relate to Gloria.
Playing the Ultimate Party Girl
That night she was the ultimate party girl, playing the ultimate party girl.
There were scantily-clad waiters, a blacked-out room with a DJ in the corner where, at one point, fashion designer Bella Freud could be found dancing alone.
And there was cake — a towering pyramid of profiteroles dipped in, and glistening with, honey, toasted almonds, cream and rose petals. Kate blew out the candles to cheers and applause.
Kate’s hair was styled in a riot of curls that evening. Her eyelids loaded with heavy navy and graphite shadow in a sort of darkly glamorous look that reeked of smudged dishevelment from the get-go.
She completed the aesthetic look with a long, diesel blue, sequined dress out of which she stripped almost as soon as her tanned toes touched the shagpile of her Claridge’s suite later that night.
Now, as dawn inched closer, she rocketed around the room, twirling and giggling, braless and wearing a tiny cornflower blue flutter of a dress that showed off her back and limbs, tanned from a recent trip to Jamaica.