September 25, 2023
Tatjana Patitz, one of many authentic ’90s supermodels, dies at 56

Written by Scottie Andrew, CNN

Tatjana Patitz, who rose to vogue fame within the ’90s as an animal-loving supermodel with a piercing gaze, has died, her agent confirmed to CNN. She was 56.

Patitz died January 11 from breast most cancers, her agent Corinne Nicolas advised CNN. She’s survived by her son, Jonah.

The German-born mannequin appeared on dozens of covers for Vogue and numerous different vogue magazines starting within the Nineteen Eighties. Her most well-known cowl, which she shared with fellow supermodels of her technology, impressed George Michael to forged her in his music video for “Freedom! ’90.”
The place the opposite supermodels of her period had been recognized for dominating the general public eye, Patitz most well-liked a quieter life surrounded by nature, significantly wild horses and the Western lands on which they lived. Nonetheless, she was impossibly, effortlessly stylish, mentioned Anna Wintour, Vogue’s world editorial director, in an announcement to the journal.

“Tatjana was at all times the European image of stylish, like Romy Schneider-meets-Monica Vitti,” she mentioned.

Tatjana Patitz walks the runway at the Chanel Ready to Wear Spring/Summer 1991-1992 fashion show during Paris Fashion Week in 1991.

Tatjana Patitz walks the runway on the Chanel Able to Put on Spring/Summer season 1991-1992 vogue present throughout Paris Style Week in 1991. Credit score: Victor Virgile/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Pictures

Born in Hamburg, Germany, and raised in Sweden, Patitz was found in 1983 when she was a finalist of the “Elite Mannequin Look” competitors, through which Elite company heads chosen her from a pool of unknowns. (Cindy Crawford was additionally a finalist that 12 months, per Elite.)
Her profession did not take off, although, till the late ’80s. It was round this time that she turned the muse of photographer Peter Lindbergh, for whom she’d mannequin till the 2010s. He took a now-iconic 1988 Vogue picture of Patitz and different fashions on a seaside in Santa Monica, California, traipsing within the sand in matching white shirts.
Then got here an iconic 1990 British Vogue cowl, additionally shot by Lindbergh — Patitz, one of many “authentic” supermodels of that period, appeared alongside Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista. The picture prompted singer George Michael to forged the ladies within the video for his single “Freedom! ’90” which additionally turned a cultural artifact.
Patitz (second from right) hangs on the shoulder of longtime collaborator Peter Lindbergh, flanked by models Karena Alexander (left) and Milla Jovovich, in 2016.

Patitz (second from proper) hangs on the shoulder of longtime collaborator Peter Lindbergh, flanked by fashions Karena Alexander (left) and Milla Jovovich, in 2016. Credit score: Frazer Harrison/Getty Pictures

Patitz was, on the time of her ascent, thought-about “uncommon” wanting in comparison with the opposite dominant fashions, in keeping with a 1990 Harper’s Bazaar story: “Certainly, Patitz’s options virtually confuse. Like Garbo or the Mona Lisa, the inexplicable presents of line and luminescence defy definition.” Her piercing gaze gave her a barely extra otherworldly look, in keeping with observations from these within the trade.

The photographer Matthew Rolston mentioned of Patitz in that 1990 story, “There is a depth, an emotional high quality in her that is actually extraordinary.” Her look, she mentioned, wasn’t simply stunning; it was memorable and evocative.

Patitz appeared on greater than 130 journal covers in her life, in keeping with Elite. She was only one face amongst a sea of supermodels for Vogue’s a hundredth anniversary cowl in 1992, all of them dressed identically in white denims and white button-down shirts tied on the midriff. And in 2016, she appeared in a black-and-white Italian Vogue cowl shot by Lindbergh.

Tatjana Patitz in Germany in April 2022.

Tatjana Patitz in Germany in April 2022. Credit score: Gisela Schober/German Choose/Getty Pictures

A lifelong animal lover, she was photographed on horseback for a 1989 Vogue unfold, additionally sporting a number of wide-brimmed cowboy hats. She additionally appeared together with her son Jonah in a 2012 shoot at their California dwelling.

Off the runway, Patitz was obsessed with animal advocacy, even from her early modeling days, as famous in her 1990 Harper’s Bazaar profile. She advised the Mexican journal Milenio in 2021 that she was concerned in California laws to guard wild horses; she additionally collaborated for years with the nonprofit Return to Freedom Wild Horse Conservation. She continued to work in vogue all through her 40s and 50s, however she selected her initiatives “very selectively,” she advised Mercedes-Benz’s 63Magazine in 2016, and on these initiatives would try to “mix my work as a mannequin with my vocation as a protector of nature and animals.”

Patitz advised Milenio she most well-liked to stay a lower-key life than her fellow supermodels and loved “being surrounded by nature, away from concrete and noise” together with her son and their animals. She was much less current within the public eye than her contemporaries, and when she relocated to California relatively than modeling hub New York, her legacy wasn’t as broadly acknowledged as theirs.

“She was far much less seen than her friends — extra mysterious, extra grown-up, extra unattainable — and that had its personal enchantment,” Wintour advised Vogue.

In a tweet, the Peter Lindbergh Basis, which shares images from the late photographer’s archives, saluted Patitz’s “kindess, internal magnificence and excellent intelligence.”