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Iconic German ‘Supermodel’ Tatjana Patitz Dies at Age 56 | R.I.P

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on January 13, 2023

✞ Tatjana Patitz, one of the original 90s supermodels, has died aged 56.

👉 Courtesy: ET + The Guardian

💭 Tatjana Patitz, iconic ’90s supermodel, has died. She was 56. Tatjana was most known as one of the original supermodels alongside Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington. The group of elite models also appeared together in George Michael’s music video for his hit song, ‘Freedom! ’90.’

Patitz shot to fame in January 1990, when she appeared alongside Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington wearing Giorgio di Sant’ Angelo bodysuits and Levi jeans on the cover of British Vogue.

Photographed in black and white by Peter Lindbergh, it was a landmark moment for minimal 90s fashion. But for the women themselves, the image became a coronation for the “supermodels”, defining them as ultimate icons of that decade’s popular culture. And it was this cover that caught the attention of George Michael, who asked them to lip sync in his memorable Freedom! ’90 music video.

The arch elegance of the German-born model’s strong-boned beauty and statuesque, athletic physique made her a favourite at Chanel and Versace, for whom she starred on catwalks and in campaigns. But she retained a low profile, making her home in California, away from the fashion party circuit.

“She was far less visible than her peers – more mysterious, more grown-up, more unattainable – and that had its own appeal,” remembered Anna Wintour, the chief operating officer of Condé Nast and global editorial director of Vogue.

Patitz was still modelling in 2019, when she walked the catwalk for Etro at Milan fashion week, and was photographed for Vogue with her son Jonah Johnson.

Born in Hamburg to an Estonian mother and German father, Patitz moved with her family to Skanör, a seaside town in southern Sweden. Already a competitive horse rider, in 1983 she entered an elite model contest in Stockholm and was placed third. The prize was a trip to Paris and a short-term contract.

Success did not happen overnight. According to a Vogue profile in 1988: “A star was not quickly born. Tatjana found no work for a year.”

Meeting Lindbergh would change her career. Known for his preference for a “natural” look and resistance to retouching images, the German photographer shot Patitz in his “White Shirts: Six Supermodels, Malibu,” for Vogue in 1988 before shooting her for the famous 1990 cover. Patitz would go on to retain longstanding working relationships with Lindbergh, as well as Herb Ritts and Patrick Demarchelier.

Despite coming of age with some of the most famous models in the world – it was also in 1990 that Linda Evangelista claimed her cohorts wouldn’t wake up for less than $10,000 (£8,200) a day – Patitz was not interested in living in New York or Paris, instead buying a ranch on the west coast. She briefly tried her hand at acting, and appeared in Sean Connery’s film Rising Sun. She also became interested in environmental and wildlife issues, and was one of the models who appeared in Peta’s famous “We’d rather go naked than wear fur”.

Outspoken, too, about the dangers the industry had on the new generation, in 2009 she told the Guardian: “It would be nice if models were allowed to be a more healthy weight – for the models, and for the young women who look up to them. We were athletic and healthy, and we looked like women.”

In his book 10 Women, Peter Lindbergh wrote of his longtime muse: “I admire Tatjana because she always stays herself. She’s very soft, but at the same time she’s very strong and knows how to stand up for what she thinks, and it’s always very enriching to be with her. It’s impossible not to admire her and over the years not to be just a little bit in love with her.”

Patitz is survived by her son, 19-year-old Jonah.


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