Tatjana Patitz, '90s Supermodel, Dead at 56

Patitz, who died in Santa Barbara, California, is remembered as one of the 'Original Supermodels.'

Famed '90s supermodel Tatjana Patitz has died in Santa Barbara, California. She was 56 years old. 

Among the elite group of models who frequently covered magazines in the late '80s and '90s, Patitz's peers included Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford.

Patitz's death was announced by Vogue and confirmed to the Associated Press by her New York agent, Corinne Nicolas, with the Model CoOp agency. She reportedly died of illness, though more details have yet to be announced. 

Fans will remember Patitz from her appearance in George Michael's music video for his hit, "Freedom! '90," along with the above-mentioned group of fashion models dubbed "The Original Supermodels."

Anna Wintour, Vogue's Editor-in-Chief, paid homage to Patitz after her death, writing, “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.” 

The German-born, Sweden-raised model began her career at the age of 17 by entering her first modeling competition. A few years later, Patitz was launched into superstardom after capturing the lens of famed fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh. 

Photo by Fred Duval/FilmMagic

Lindbergh shot Patitz and several other high-profile supermodels for his 1988 campaign, “White Shirts: Six Supermodels, Malibu.” The two collaborated again for a British Vogue cover in 1990. 

Photo by ARNAL/GARCIA/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Patitz also frequently worked with fellow high-caliber fashion photographers Herb Ritts and Patrick Demarchelier. 

In 2006, Patitz was interviewed by Prestige Hong Kong magazine, where she discussed the modern modeling landscape and how she believed the golden age of modeling was over. 

“There was a real era, and the reason that happened was because glamour was brought into it,” Patitz noted. “Now the celebrities and actresses have taken over, and the models are in the backseat completely.”

“Women were healthy, not these scrawny little models that nobody knows their names anymore,” Patitz continued.