Supermodel Tatjana Patitz died of breast cancer aged 56 after a 40-year career
Tatjana Patitz, one of the original supermodels, has died aged 56 after battling with breast cancer, according to her agent.
Her agent confirmed the news to DailyMail.com, adding to Insider that she had passed away in Santa Barbara, California, on Wednesday morning.
Hamburg-born Patitz starred alongside Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista and Cindy Crawford on the cover of British Vogue for the January issue in 1990.
It has become one of the most iconic fashion images of all time and was on Edward Enninful’s top ten British Vogue covers of all time, with Patitz making the cover of US vogue on her own in the same month as the UK.
Leading the tributes, fellow model Elaine Irwin posted a picture of their joint Paris Vogue cover and said: ‘Forever treasured Tatjana. With love to Tatjana Patitz and family.’
Sad loss for fashion: Cover girl Tatjana Patitz – who was one of the top supermodels of the 1980s and 1990s – has died at the age of 56, DailyMail.com can confirm. The star’s agent at the Model CoOp in New York City confirmed the sad news to DailyMail.com on Wednesday morning, saying Tatjana had recently passed. Vogue magazine was first to break the news
Iconic: Hamburg-born Patitz starred alongside (L-R) Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington,and Cindy Crawford – with Patitz in the center – on the cover of British Vogue for the January issue in 1990. George Michael saw the cover and invited all of the girls to star in his music video
A stunner: The siren was often on the cover of Vogue. The 5ft11in star was beloved by the photographer Herb Ritts
Pretty woman: The siren went on to model for Versace and Chanel, often appearing in print ads and on runways. She was also on many magazine covers for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Marie Claire. Seen in the 90s
Yasmeen Ghauri posted a picture of her with Patitz, Naomi and Karen Alexander, writing: ‘Rest in peace dear Tatjana.
‘We didn’t know each other well but your presence always struck me. Your authenticity, grace, kindness and inner strength shone through. You will be missed.’
Fellow originals Naomi and Helena Christensen were quick to comment on the post, with Christensen calling her a ‘beautiful spite’ while Naomi posted a broken heart and a dove emoji.
She also starred in a George Michael music video, ‘Freedom!’ from 1990, with the same group of models from the infamous British Vogue cover.
The Herb Ritts Foundation also paid tribute to the model, with Ritts, who died in 2002, saying in 1999 that he had ‘photographed her more than anybody’, adding that she has the most ‘unusual face’.
In a statement, they said: ‘We are deeply saddened by the news of Tatjana’s passing. Our thoughts go to her loved ones and particularly her son Jonah.’
Patitz told The New York Times in 2016 that Michael was one of her ‘first teenage crushes,’ so she was starstruck when she first met him.
The pair worked together on a few occasions, although she never met him in the flesh for her portion of the music video – flying in and out in one day.
Tatjana Patitz, one of the original supermodels, has died aged 56 after suffering a battle with breast cancer according to her agent. Pictured with Karen Alexander, Yasmeen Ghauri and Naomi Campbell
Heartbroken: Fellow model Elaine Irwin posted a picture of their joint Paris Vogue cover and said: ‘Forever treasured Tatjana. With love to Tatjiana Patitz and family’
Special: The Herb Ritts Foundation also paid tribute to the model, with Ritts, who died in 2002, saying in 1999 that he had ‘photographed her more than anybody’, adding that she has the most ‘unusual face’
Motherly love: The supermodel attended a perfume launch for Dior with her son Jonah Patitz in September 2022
She said: ‘I was in my own zone. I had to kind of slide up and down the wall for part of the day. The feel of the set was so run-down, this big, loft kind of vibe.
‘There was another setup with me laying on a chaise lounge with a black smoking jacket. I think I may have had a bustier on. And I was smoking, even. People still smoked in videos then and even in films.’
The stunning model appeared in British Vogue’s 1985 October issue and appeared on the cover six times before the infamous supers cover, which was captured by Peter Lindbergh.
She was shot by the famous photographer many times over a 30-year period and appeared on Vogue’s October covers with Helena Christensen and Karen Alexander in 2016.
Devastated: Her fellow models were quick to pay tribute to their fellow original after the news
After appearing on the famed January 1990 issue, she also worked on campaigns for Chanel, Calvin Klein and Versace.
The model chose to live in California to be closer to nature and her beloved animals, in a move that was in stark contrast with her fellow models who chose the high life in New York and London.
She was married to Jason Johnson for six years, and the pair had a son, Jonah, together in November 2004 – who she describes as her ‘source of happiness’.
Denim stars: The model was reunited with her supermodel peers for a denim shoot by Patrick Demarchelier for a 100th anniversary special. Clockwise from top: Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Karen Mulder, Elaine Irwin, Niki Taylor, Yasmeen Ghauri, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, and, center, Tatjana Patitz
Sing it: The Hamburg-born beauty was best known for her work with Vogue as well as her starring role in the George Michael music video Freedom from 1990 with pals Cindy Crawford , Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington
Now and then: Seen on the left for Chanel in 2017 and on the right in 1991 for Christian Dior
Anna Wintour, chief content officer of Condé Nast and global editorial director of Vogue, said: ‘Tatjana was always the European symbol of chic, like Romy Schneider-meets-Monica Vitti.
‘She was far less visible than her peers—more mysterious, more grown-up, more unattainable—and that had its own appeal.’
Speaking about the iconic cover, Cindy Crawford told Vogue: ‘When people ask me what was my big supermodel moment, I always refer to this Vogue cover and that autumn/winter 1991 Versace show, when we sang George Michael’s Freedom as we strode down the catwalk.
‘But the Versace show wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t done George Michael’s video, and George Michael would have chosen actresses to star in his video if he had not seen the Vogue cover. So it all comes back to it.
‘All of us girls were friendly, though some were closer than others, but it was before cellphones, so when we were together we really talked, not distracted by our messages.’
Creative director of Vogue Grace Coddington regarded Patitz as one of the original supermodels, she wrote in her 2012 memoir.
Patitz was born in Hamburg to an Estonian mother and German father, with the family making a move to Skanör in Sweden.
In a 2020 interview, Patitz said that she ‘never sold her soul’ and competed regularly as a horse rider as a teenager.
At the age of 17 in 1983 she entered an Elite Model Contest in Stockholm. She placed third in Sweden. The prize was a trip to Paris and a limited-time contract.
The contest did not immediately shoot her to fame, with Vogue writing in 1988 that ‘a star was not quickly born. Tatjana found no work for a year.’
Background: She was born in Hamburg to an Estonian mother and German father. The family then moved to Skanör in Sweden. At the age of 17 in 1983 she entered an Elite Model Contest in Stockholm. She placed third in Sweden. The prize was a trip to Paris and a limited-time contract. Seen left in 1991 in Paris for Chanel and right in 1992 for Chanel
She brought the drama: Wearing nothing but a banner: ‘We’d rather go naked than wear Fur’, five of the world’s top models shot a sexy advertisement for US and Europe based PETA. L-R Emma Sjoberg, Tatjana Patitz, Heather Stewart-Whyte, Fabienne Terwinghe and Naomi Campbell
The siren went on to model for Versace and Chanel, often appearing in print ads and on runways. She was also on many magazine covers for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle and Marie Claire.
After she starred in Freedom with Cindy, Christy, Naomi and Linda, the girls were dubbed the ‘supermodels of the 1990s’ and often worked together thereafter.
The supermodel never appeared to be part of ‘the pack’ making her home in California where she could be closer to her beloved animals – and was an ambassador for the American Wild Horse Sanctuary.
Her last post on Instagram was in august, of her dog, celebrating National Dog Day with two sweet snaps of her pups, Matilda and Gatsby.
She said in 1998: ‘People always said that I looked special; that I didn’t look like anyone else. And I was going to make it because of that.’
Tatjana had also starred in the film for Duran Duran’s song Skin Trade, and even tried her hand at making movies, featuring as a murder victim in 1993 Sean Connery flick Rising Sun.
Another famous friend: Seen with Bo Derek at the Raffaello Summer Day 2014 at Kronprinzenpalais in Berlin, Germany
Some close pals: from left, Karena Alexander, Patitz and Milla Jovovich attend photographer Peter Lindbergh Book Signing for A Different Vision On Fashion Photography at the TASCHEN Gallery in Los Angeles in 2016
Walking the walk: In Italy at the Etro show at Milan Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2019/20 in February 2019
In 2000, she appeared in the Korn music video for the song Make Me Bad. She also worked for 30 years with acclaimed photographer Peter Lindbergh.
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.’
The star worked up until recent years: In 2019 she stormed Milan when she walked the runway for Etro.
Patitz was an avid equestrian who learned to ride horses at age seven. She said, ‘I have been riding since I was a small child. For me, it means freedom, connectedness, and dedication. Horses transform stress and worry for me. They are genuine and spiritual. They make me happy and relaxed, especially if I feel pressured or tense.’
The beauty used to date Heidi Klum’s ex Seal former Bond star Pierce Brosnan and before that Nick Kamen.
She is survived by her son Jonah Johnson. The star was wed to Jonah’s father Jason Johnson from 2003 until 2009.
The model was reunited with her supermodel peers for a denim shoot by Patrick Demarchelier and also allowed Vogue to capture her and her son Johan at their ranch in Santa Ynez Valley.
Patitiz described her son John as her ‘source of happiness’ last year, after appearing in a Tina Barney portfolio.
With some pretty pals: Seen with Toni Garrn, Nadja Auermann and Julia Stegner during the WMF world premiere at Haus der Kunst in April 2022 in Munich, Germany
Source: | Dailymail.co.uk