German supermodel Tatjana Patitz, known for her appearance in George Michael’s music video for Freedom ‘90 and Duran Duran’s Skin Trade, has died overnight aged 56. Her modelling agency confirmed her death but the cause has yet to be revealed. She is survived by her 19-year-old son, Jonah.
A constant within the pages of fashion magazines throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, Patitz joined the stellar line up of models including Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington for the now iconic cover of British Vogue in 1990. She cemented her status as one of the decade’s most lucrative models after working campaigns for Chanel, Versace and Calvin Klein.
Away from the pages of fashion magazines, Patitiz became frequently seen on television screens in an era where music videos became an integral part of any musician’s promotional campaign. She became synonymous with George Michael in the ‘90s, appearing in the music video for his remix of Wham! track Freedom, demonstrating what Anna Wintour, global editorial director of Vogue described as an embodiment of “european chic.”
“She was far less visible than her peers - more mysterious, more grown-up, more unattainable - and that had its own appeal" the editorial director remarked. The Peter Lindbergh Foundation, founded in the memory of the photographer that helped Patitz early in her career, paid tribute by writing on Twitter “Tatjana’s kindness, inner beauty and outstanding intelligence She will be immensely missed."
Speaking on her appeal to photographers and fashion editors to Vogue magazine in 1988, Patitz believed her popularity was based on “not looking like anyone else.” People always said that I looked special, and I was going to make it because of that,” she revealed.