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90s supermodel Tatjana Patitz has died, age 56

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Image: Tatjana Patitz, Etro AW19, via Launchmetrics Spotlight

Tatjana Patitz, one of the original supermodels of the eighties and nineties, has died age 56.

Originally from Germany, Ms Patitz moved to Sweden in her early childhood, and was discovered after placing third in a modelling contest held by Elite in 1983, one of the world’s most successful agencies.

While her career was slow to start, the now infamous Malibu shoot of six supermodels wearing white shirts, photographed by Peter Lindbergh for Vogue in 1988, propelled her to modelling stardom. Two years later Ms Patitz was in the same cast of models featured in the late singer George Michael’s iconic Freedom video.

In his book, 10 Women, Lindbergh wrote, "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.

Having graced the cover of the world’s high-end fashion magazines, Ms Patitz had longstanding relationships with many famous photographers of her time, which included Herb Ritts, Irving Penn and Steven Meisel.

Her versatility and European beauty drew many fashion houses and photographers to want to capture her image. In a Vogue article in 1988 John Casablancas, president of Elite Model Management, said of Tatjana: "In pictures, her sensitivity is what comes through; something delicate, fragile, exciting. It's a strange mixture of lazy sensuality and moments of intense emotion.”

"It's hard to get a bad picture of Tatjana. She's very photogenic, which is very rare, and she looks different in every light," added photographer Patrick Demarchelier. "While some models develop one look, she has many.”

A cause of death has not been confirmed.

Tatjana Patitz