A life in pictures from 1970-2020

 (Rex Features)
(Rex Features)

British model Stella Tennant died suddenly on 22 December, her family announced in a statement this week.

The 50-year-old, who had celebrated her most recent birthday only days before on 17 December, had an illustrious career spanning almost 30 years, after she was discovered during an American Vogue call for “non-models” in 1993.

Her striking looks, including a nose ring, which she refused to take out for the original Condé Nast shoot, soon caught the attention of top-flight designers around the world – most notably Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel.

Tennant quickly became the face of the brand, in what was the start of a long relationship with the French fashion house.

Stella Tennant at the Fashion AwardsRex Features
Stella Tennant at the Fashion AwardsRex Features

The former art student walked the catwalk for countless international brands and was frequently chosen to model haute couture by designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier and Dior by John Galliano during Paris Fashion Week.

The mother of four was lauded for her work with several awards, including Model of the Year at the 2011 British Fashion Awards and the Contribution to British Fashion award at the Harper’s Bazaar Women of the Year 2016 awards.

Tennant was also inducted into the Scottish Fashion Awards Hall of Fame as Model of the Year at its annual awards event in 2012. The same year, she played a starring role in the London Olympics closing ceremony, joining models including Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss to show off the work of British designers.

Tributes to Tennant – who was the granddaughter of Andrew Cavendish, 11th Duke of Devonshire, and Deborah Mitford, one of the Mitford sisters – have poured in from the fashion industry over the last 24 hours.

Stella McCartney wrote: “My darling Stella, I love you and will miss you so, so terribly,” on Instagram.

Fashion house Versace paid tribute on Twitter, saying: “Versace is mourning the death of Stella Tennant. Stella was Gianni Versace’s muse for many years and friend of the family. We will miss you forever Stella. Rest In Peace.”

Here are some of Tennant’s best pictures from her professional and personal life.

Stella Tennant walks the catwalk for Chanel in Paris in  October 1996Steve Wood/REX
Stella Tennant walks the catwalk for Chanel in Paris in October 1996Steve Wood/REX

Stella Tennant walks the catwalk for Chanel in Paris in October 1996. Karl Lagerfeld praised her “modern allure”, dressing her in everything from the label’s signature classic suits to oversized bows and pearls.

Stella Tennant wears Dior by John Galliano at Paris Fashion Week in 1997Steve Wood/REX
Stella Tennant wears Dior by John Galliano at Paris Fashion Week in 1997Steve Wood/REX

Tennant wears Dior by John Galliano at Paris Fashion Week in 1997. Tennant was one of a number of British models who broke through during the early 1990s as part of the Cool Britannia era for culture.

Tennant wore a Helmut Lang dress for her wedding to photographer David Lasnet in 1999Sutton Hibbert/REX
Tennant wore a Helmut Lang dress for her wedding to photographer David Lasnet in 1999Sutton Hibbert/REX

Tennant at her wedding to photographer David Lasnet in 1999, in Scotland. The bride wore a Helmut Lang dress. The pair met when Mario Testino hired Lasnet as an assistant. They had four children together, Marcel, Cecily, Jasmine and Iris.

The epitome of autumn chic, Tennant models Yves Saint Laurent designs in 2001Rex Features
The epitome of autumn chic, Tennant models Yves Saint Laurent designs in 2001Rex Features

Tennant at an autumn/winter Yves Saint Laurent show in 2001 under the creative directorship of Tom Ford.

Pretty in pearls: Tennant models for Chanel in 2001/2Miquel Benitez/REX
Pretty in pearls: Tennant models for Chanel in 2001/2Miquel Benitez/REX

Tennant models for Chanel in 2012. She remained a fan of the French fashion house for many years, appearing at the Paris show most recently in 2019.

Stella Tennant joined actress Tilda Swinton in walking for Viktor and Rolf in 2003Rex Features
Stella Tennant joined actress Tilda Swinton in walking for Viktor and Rolf in 2003Rex Features

At the Viktor and Rolf show in 2003, Tennant walked alongside actor Tilda Swinton, also known for her sharp, androgynous look.

Stella Tennant favoured revealing tailoring for her win at the 2011 British Fashion AwardsRex Features
Stella Tennant favoured revealing tailoring for her win at the 2011 British Fashion AwardsRex Features

Stella Tennant favoured revealing tailoring for her Model of the Year win at the 2011 British Fashion Awards. She also won a Contribution to British Fashion award at the Harper’s Bazaar Women of the Year 2016 awards.

Stella Tennant wears Christopher Kane as part of the 2012 London Olympics Closing CeremonyKeystone/Zuma/REX
Stella Tennant wears Christopher Kane as part of the 2012 London Olympics Closing CeremonyKeystone/Zuma/REX

Stella Tennant wears Christopher Kane as part of the 2012 London Olympics Closing Ceremony. She appeared alongside other Brit favourites: Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Jourdan Dunn, David Gandy, and Lily Cole.

Tennant wore feathers by Burberry to the Met Gala in 2014Matt Baron/BEI/REX
Tennant wore feathers by Burberry to the Met Gala in 2014Matt Baron/BEI/REX

Tennant wore feathers by Burberry to the Met Gala in 2014.

Stella Tennant went for a sleek silhouette when she won at the 2016 Harper’s Bazaar Women of the Year AwardsRex Features
Stella Tennant went for a sleek silhouette when she won at the 2016 Harper’s Bazaar Women of the Year AwardsRex Features

Tennant went for a sleek silhouette when she won at the 2016 Harper’s Bazaar Women of the Year Awards.

Still rocking aged 48: Stella Tennant was snapped for her street style at Haute Couture Fashion Week in 2018Dvora/REX
Still rocking aged 48: Stella Tennant was snapped for her street style at Haute Couture Fashion Week in 2018Dvora/REX

Aged 48, Tennant was still regularly snapped by street style photographers at fashion week. Here she is pictured at the Haute Couture Fashion Week in Paris, 2018.

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