Stella Tennant ends her three-decade fashion career at age 50. The inconic British model passed away on Tuesday, just days after her fiftieth birthday on December 17. According to the New York Times, while her death was sudden, police report that Tennant has died under no suspicious circumstances. The cause of her death remains unknown to the public at this time. According the Guardian, a statement released by her family says: “It is with great sadness we announce the sudden death of Stella Tennant on 22 December 2020. Stella was a wonderful woman and an inspiration to us all. She will be greatly missed.” Tennant was married to photographer David Lasnet and they have four children – Marcel, Cecily, Jasmine, and Iris. The family has asked for privacy and said that a memorial service will be arranged and announced at a later date.
An outpouring of grief and support can be seen on social media with Instagram tributes from fashion industry veterans Donatella Versace, Stella McCartney, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, cindy Crawford and British Vogue editor Edward Enninful.
Supermodel and Muse
Tennant was one of the most recognizable faces in the modeling industry since the 1990s. With her statuesque figure and pixie haircut, the six-foot model was a towering presence on the catwalk. Tennant was a favorite model and muse among prominent designers including Gianni Versace, Alexander McQueen, Karl Lagerfeld, Nicolas Ghesquière (Louis Vuitton), Riccardo Tisci (Burberry) and Victoria Beckham. She also appeared in several high-profile advertising campaigns for Versace, Chanel, Burberry, Lanvin, Louis Vuitton, Calvin Klein, and Hermès. In 2012, Tennant also represented English Fashion at the closing ceremony of the Olympics together with fellow supermodels Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss.
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Tennant was discovered by fashion photographer and American Vogue image-makes Steven Meisel in 1993. Her patrician features reflected her aristocratic background as she was the granddaughter of Andrew Cavendish, the 11th Duke of Devonshire, but it was the unknown model’s grunge fashion style and septum piercing, which she refused to take off during a Vogue fashion shoot, that caught Meisel’s eye. Tennant completed a degree in sculpture at the Winchester College of Art and wasn’t keep on modelling when Meisel asked her to go to Paris the very next day for a Versace campaign after that first Vogue photoshoot. She was very reluctant to go and as Hello! writes, it took the “superhuman” convincing powers of her booker to persuade her to go with Meisel.
Karl Lagerfeld soon made her the face of Chanel and an exclusive modelling contract was forged. After years of dominating the catwalks, she retired from modelling in 1998 when she became pregnant with her first child, but returned after some time. BBC News writes that Tennant was inducted into the Scottish Fashion Awards Hall of Fame in 2012. As the Guardian reports, Tennant’s final British Vogue cover was in 2018 and was shot by her first fashion photographer Steven Meisel.
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