Britain’s most famous aristocratic supermodel Stella Tennant has died at the age of 50, just months after splitting from her husband.
Her family praised her as a ‘wonderful woman and an inspiration to us all’ in a statement which confirmed her ‘sudden death’ yesterday.
In August it was revealed Mrs Tennant had separated from her husband David Lasnet after 21 years of marriage earlier this year. The couple owned a property empire that includes a luxury mews house in Edinburgh and a stately home near her father’s estate.
Mrs Tennant was the granddaughter of Andrew Cavendish, the 11th Duke of Devonshire and Deborah Mitford, one of the well-known aristocratic siblings.
The mother-of-four was known for her androgynous looks during her 1990s modelling heyday and soon became a muse for Karl Lagerfeld, which the fashion designer attributed to her resemblance to Coco Chanel.
The news comes as another tragic blow to the fashion industry, after the loss of the legendary designer Alexander McQueen in 2010, and his mentor, magazine editor Isabella Blow in 2006; both of whom took their own lives.
Mrs Tennant’s cause of death has not yet been ascertained, and police said there are no suspicious circumstances.
Mrs Tennant is pictured at her wedding to David Lasnet at Oxnam Kirk Church in 1999. In August it was revealed Mrs Tennant had separated from her husband after 21 years of marriage earlier this year
The mother-of-four was known for her androgynous looks during her 1990s modelling heyday and soon became a muse for Karl Lagerfeld (pictured together in 2012), which the fashion designer attributed to her resemblance to Coco Chanel
Her first shoot made the cover of British Vogue in 1993, and at the end of that day’s work she was asked to do a Versace campaign in Paris, which ended up as the cover of the Italian edition.
Mrs Tennant died five days after her 50th birthday on December 17. Her family said today: ‘It is with great sadness we announce the sudden death of Stella Tennant on December 22, 2020. Stella was a wonderful woman and an inspiration to us all.
‘She will be greatly missed. Her family ask for their privacy to be respected. Arrangements for a memorial service will be announced at a later date.’
Fashion designer Stella McCartney led the tributes pouring in online for Mrs Tennant, writing: ‘My darling Stella, I f****** love you and will miss you so, so terribly. What sad, horrific news to end this already shocking year!
‘My heart goes out to your stunning family who must be in such undeserving pain. I am speechless… Rest in peace, you inspiring woman. Your soul and inner beauty exceeded the external perfection, Stella. May you ride high above us all on the most perfect horse, eternally in peace.’
Elsewhere, British Vogue Editor-In-Chief Edward Enninful wrote: ‘R.I.P kind and wonderful Stella. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.’
Mrs Tennant with British Vogue’s Editor-In-Chief Edward Enninful on November 7, 2017, in London, left, and right, at The Fashion Awards 2019 held at Royal Albert Hall on December 2, 2019 in London
Mrs Tennant appeared in numerous advertising campaigns, including Calvin Klein, Chanel, Hermes, and Burberry. Pictured, Mrs Tennant kisses Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace after the presentation of his 1997-98 fall-winter collection, in Paris
After attending school at St Leonards in St Andrews, Mrs Tennant caught the attention of photographers Steven Meisel and Bruce Weber – thanks to her 5ft 11 frame and chiselled features.
In 1993, aged 23, Mrs Tennant broke into modelling, posing for magazines such as French, British and Italian Vogue as well as Harper’s Bazaar.
In the late 90s, Karl Lagerfeld announced Mrs Tennant as the new face of Chanel, with an exclusive modelling contract, and became a muse for the fashion designer, which he attributed to her resemblance to Coco Chanel.
Mrs Tennant also appeared in numerous advertising campaigns, including Calvin Klein, Chanel, Hermes, and Burberry.
In 1993, aged 23, Mrs Tennant broke into modelling, posing for magazines such as French, British and Italian Vogue as well as Harper’s Bazaar. Pictured: Mrs Tennant in 2003, left, and right, with fashion designer Stella McCartney during a party in London to celebrate the December issue of British Vogue in November 2017
Alexandra Shulman, Mrs Tennant, Vivienne Westwood and Sam McKnight pictured together in London in November 2016
She was among models representing the British fashion industry during the closing ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, on the final day of the London 2012 Olympics. In the same year, she was inducted as Model of the Year in the Scottish Fashion Awards Hall of Fame.
Mrs Tennant met her husband Mr Lasnet while at the height of her fame, when he was a French photographer assigned to a New York shoot with her.
After a high-profile society wedding, they lived together near her parents’ sprawling 16th century estate in the Scottish Borders. Mr Lasnet became an osteopath, and the couple went on to have four children, now aged between 15 and 22.
A Police Scotland spokesman said: ‘Officers were called to an address in Duns around 11.30am on Tuesday, December 22 following the sudden death of a 50-year-old woman.
‘Her next of kin have been made aware. There are no suspicious circumstances and a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.’
Mrs Tennant with her father Toby Tennant on her wedding day at Oxnam Kirk Church in 1999, pictured left, and seen right, during a catwalk run
Mrs Tennant was the granddaughter of Andrew Cavendish, the 11th Duke of Devonshire and Deborah Mitford (pictured), one of the well-known aristocratic siblings