The fashion industry is celebrating the life of one of the original supermodels – Tatjana Patitz – who passed away from breast cancer on January 11, 2022. The news was confirmed by Vogue as many people took to social media to pay tribute, send condolences, and honor one of the all-time greats in the industry.
Patitz was born in Hamburg, West Germany on May 25, 1966, but was raised in Sweden to a father who was a travel journalist and a mother who was a dancer at Le Lido in Paris. She learned how to ride horses by the age of 7 and has maintained a deep love for horses (and animals, in general) throughout her life.
10 years later, she entered an Elite Model Look contest and came in third place – ultimately winning a contract that sent her to Paris, where she embarked on a legendary modeling career that spanned more than 35 years (between 1983 and 2019). She was always admired for her ability to stay true to herself.
Tatjana Patitz caught her first big break in 1985 when she appeared on the cover of British Vogue after a year of making a name for herself as a regular model. It was a year that saw her work with photographer Peter Lindbergh for the first time – a legendary partnership that continued for the next three decades.
“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 … not to be just a little bit in love with her,” wrote Lindbergh in 1996.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Tatjana Patitz, a long-time friend of Peter’s. We would like to salute Tatjana’s kindness, inner beauty, and outstanding intelligence. Our thoughts go to her loved ones and particularly Jonah. She will be immensely missed,” wrote the Peter Lindbergh Foundation on Twitter.
Patitz continued her success throughout the rest of the 1980s and 1990s when she established herself as one of the most impactful and iconic supermodels of all time. She married Jason Randall Johnson in 2003 and they had a son together in 2004, but the couple decided to go their separate ways in 2009.
Cindy Crawford Pays Tribute to Friend Tatjana Patitz
In 1990, Tatjana Patitz starred in a British Vogue cover with Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, and Christy Turlington. The cover is one of the most iconic photos of all time and is credited with sparking the ‘supermodel phenomenon’ that began in the 1990s and quickly went worldwide.
“So sad to hear of the passing of the beautiful @tatjanapatitz. We were babies together in the fashion industry and I feel like we grew up together. We were in so many shoots together and backstage at shows,” wrote Cindy Crawford on Instagram. Her post received more than 115,000 likes in just one day.
Not long after appearing on the British Vogue cover, the five women (Patitz, Crawford, Campbell, Evangelista, and Turlington) were cast in a music video for Freedom! “90” by George Michael. This all but cemented them as the ‘original’ supermodels who helped revolutionize and popularize the industry.
“I found her soft-spoken, sensitive, kind, inquisitive and, who could ever forget those piercing eyes. Her love of animals and nature was infectious. Sending my condolences to her family — especially the son she adored. RIP” Cindy Crawford continued. Many took to the comments to pay tribute to her.
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