Stella Tennant, '90s Supermodel, Dies Suddenly at 50
Stella Tennant, an iconic supermodel of the '90s, died suddenly Tuesday, just a few days after turning 50.
Her family confirmed her death without providing a cause, saying in a statement to The Guardian, “It is with great sadness we announce the sudden death of Stella Tennant on 22nd December 2020. Stella was a wonderful woman and an inspiration to us all. She will be greatly missed. Her family ask for their privacy to be respected. Arrangements for a memorial service will be announced at a later date.”
Scottish police reported that officers had been called to an address in Duns at 11:30 a.m. local time on Tuesday following the sudden death of a woman. Police said, “There are no suspicious circumstances and a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.”
The androgyne had been a muse to many designers, including the late Alexander McQueen and Karl Lagerfeld, and was considered among the most famous models of her era.
Kate Moss, her contemporary and friend, posted an image of the two of them sharing a W magazine cover on Instagram, the simple message a broken heart emoji.
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The granddaughter of Andrew Cavenish, 11th Duke of Devonshire, and Deborah Mitford, she was discovered by fashion photographer Steven Meisel and shot by him for her first British Vogue editorial in 1993. The spread was edgy for the era — she sported a nose ring — and led to an Italian Vogue cover, her first, and a splashy Versace campaign.
Versace was among many fashion brands expressing sadness over Tennant's death, tweeting, “Versace is mourning the death of #StellaTennant. Stella was Gianni Versace’s muse for many years and friend of the family. We will miss you forever Stella. Rest In Peace.”
By the end of the '90s, she was a ubiquitous presence on fashion runways, appeared in campaigns for Burberry, Hermès, and Calvin Klein, and — thanks to Lagerfeld — became the exclusive face of Chanel.
More recently, Tennant appeared in L.K.Bennett's 2010 spring/summer campaign, and was one of the British models used during the closing ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics.
Tennant married photographer David Lasnet in 1999; they reportedly split earlier this year. She is survived by their four children: Marcel, 22; Cecily, 19, Jasmine, 18; and Iris, 16.