Model Stella Tennant Dies at Age 50

An iconic face, she was a muse to everyone from Karl Lagerfeld to Helmut Lang.

chanel prêt a porter printemps ete 2002
(Image credit: Thierry Orban)

British model Stella Tennant has passed away. She was 50 years old.

A family spokesperson confirmed the tragic news in a statement: “It is with great sadness we announce the sudden death of Stella Tennant on 22 December 2020. Stella was a wonderful woman and an inspiration to us all. She will be greatly missed.”

Tennant's striking look helped to define fashion in the '90s—her pixie haircut, piercing blue gaze, and angular figure resonated with the grunge era—though her career extended well beyond the decade.

Born in Scotland to noble lineage (her parents were the honorable Tobias William Tennant, son of the second Baron Glenconner, and Lady Emma Cavendish, and her grandmother was the socialite Deborah Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire), Tennant's career took off while she was a student at the University of Southampton. After sending in some photos to magazine editors, she attracted the attention of photographer Steven Meisel. A cover soon followed, as did designer-muse relationships with Helmut Lang and, later, Karl Lagerfeld, who signed her up for an exclusive contract with Chanel, citing her resemblance to the brand’s founder, Coco Chanel.

model stella tenant and fashion designer karl lagerfeld face partially obsc by fan at chanel store opening photo by dave alloccadmithe life picture collection via getty images

(Image credit: Dave Allocca)

Over the course of her career, Tennent continued to grace covers, spreads, and campaigns, including Burberry, Calvin Klein, Hermès, Prada, and Alexander McQueen. Tennant was also one of the nine models featured in the Closing Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.

In 1999, she married David Lasnet, a photographer turned osteopath. They have four children together, and lived in the village of Edrom in Berwickshire, Scotland.

“Her family ask for their privacy to be respected,” the spokesperson continued. “Arrangements for a memorial service will be announced at a later date.”

Barry Samaha

Barry Samaha is the style commerce editor at Esquire, where he covers all things fashion and grooming. Previously, he was an editor at Harper’s Bazaar, Surface, and WWD, along with overseeing editorial content at Tod’s Group. He has also written for The Daily Beast, Coveteur, Departures, Paper, Bustle Group, Forbes, and many more. He is based in New York City and can't seem to find enough closet space for all his shoes.