An ode to Tatjana…in acknowledgement of an icon in fashion whose impact will endure to live on…
Tatjana Patitz (1966-2023) was a German model. And a Supermodel. It was during the 1980’s and 1990’s that her stardom would ascend and she would appear on the covers of fashions glossies. Born in Hamburg, West Germany and raised in Skanör, Sweden, Tatijana would become one of the top supermodels who ruled the runway in the 1990’s. The volume of photographic captures of Tatjana is vast. This tribute is a mere capsule of her gift to the world of fashion.
For one who fell in love with the art of fashion…and grew into womanhood following the rise of the Supermodel…the impact of life’s brevity has struck again with the loss of one of the greatest, Tatjana Patitz.
Again, a mere visual compilation of images in acknowledgement….
“My favorite face is probably Tatjana Patitz. I think I’ve photographed her more than anybody, and to me more than any of the women she has the most unusual face: Strong, oval, the almond eyes and those strong lips- and it’s her gaze, her inner self that always comes through so strongly” – Herb Ritz
“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 the years not to be just a little bit in love with her” – Peter Lindbergh
“It’s hard to get a bad picture of Tatijana. She’s very photogenic, which is very rare and she looks different in every light” –Patrick Demarchelier
“She possessed an exoticism and broad emotional range that set her apart from her peers” –Nigel Barker “The most lasting images of her are when she was really looking like herself.”- Nigel Barker
“Indeed, Patitz’s features almost confuse. Like Garbo or the Mona Lisa, the inexplicable gifts of line and luminescence defy definition” – Harper’s Bazaar
“Always the European symbol of chic….She was far less visible than her peers — more mysterious, more grown-up, more unattainable — and that had its own appeal.”- Anna Wintour, VOUGE
“One of the original supermodels and a must in photographs and on the catwalk”. Vogue, 2012, Grace Coddington
“At just shy of six feet tall, Teutonically self-composed, and dominating any room she cared to walk into [sic], Tatjana was the biggest beast in the seething jungle; Vogue amplified the comparison by fixating on her lynx-like eyes, impossibly blue and curved around the temples like a cat’s”. – Vogue Model: The Faces of Fashion.
“Patitz is greatly responsible for establishing the acceptance of statuesque and curvaceous beauty in an industry of extreme thinness” – Author Linda Sivertsen
In acknowledgement of her love of horses….
“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”. – Tatijana Patitz
Perhaps one cannot fully acknowledge the impact of Tatjana in fashion without acknowledging the SUPERMODELS...
The proclamation of the Supermodel could be attributed to the glossy cover of British Vogue in January of 1990. An Era-defining cover at the start of a new decade, for certain….
For those that recall the Era of the 90’s Supermodels and lived through that heightened time in fashion.. a brief recap of the time that will forever inspire me…
It was a moment in time when fashion was about fashion. And the images of models wearing the styles of designers graced the covers of fashion’s glossies. Fashion as an art form. And the models that represented the changing styles and transformational chameleons the models became at the hands of makeup, hair and photographic artists that captured them. Supermodels.
Truth, I was one who purchased these glossies from the magazine stands since the mid 1980’s, a time in which the term “Supermodel” is said to have surfaced as models began to experience a level of celebrity. But it was during the 1990’s that a group of five models rose to unprecedented superstardom through fashion’s glossies and its catwalks. The Supermodels emerged- “a select group of individual-looking, business-minded, high-profile fashion models”, often referred to as “The Big Five”: Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, and Tatjana Patitz. The original Supermodels. Icons of the time. But as in the world of fashion, the world of the Supermodel would evolve again to include Claudia Schiffer (who is said to have replaced Patitz). The arrival of Kate Moss would evolve to “The Big Six”. Many more models would also rise to Supermodel status. It was an Era, indeed…
And yes, I had curated a collection of covers and glossy prints of the Supermodels portrayed in the art of fashion’s branding and visual merchandising. I watched it all happen. And I became a woman along with the Supermodels. For in later years I realized that they were not much older than I. The time was quite magical. And unique. Watching the five women in print- chameleons by way of the designer, photographer and makeup/hair artists that positioned them for the glossy visuals and unleashed them onto the catwalks that would endure to impact and sell fashion. And inspire. It truly was an art. Fashion. Designers. Photography. Makeup artistry. Five women. And it was thrilling to visually flip through the different glossies each and every month. Which Supermodel graced the cover this month? And yes, during the 1990’s I often splurged on the glossies of European Vouges. I was smitten with the art of it all.
Alas, all things rise and fall. And by the late 1990’s, the glossy covers of fashion would elevate Hollywood celebrities and Pop singers. The iconic Era of the Supermodel, as it was once known, no longer had the limelight of fashion’s focus. Perhaps I hold a very passionate stance on what fashion once was: The designer and the model-and the photographer who captured it all…No other group of models have matched the influence and status as the original Supermodels. To acknowledge the impact the Supermodels had is to understand fashion in a poignant decade of time…
“I am proud of my wrinkles. I worked for each one and they belong to me. Growing older is beautiful. You become wiser and more mature. For me, giving away or changing that gift is not an option … Beauty means being a good person and being there for others. In my opinion, beauty is not only about looks, but everything that makes up a person” –Tatjana Patitz, 2019
The legacy of a Supermodel. In images. A visual acknowledgement. A woman. A mother. Taken by breast cancer. She was 56.