A look back at Stella Tennant's modelling legacy

With a career spanning three decades, Tennant was one of the biggest models of the 1990s

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The news of model Stella Tennant's death has left a sombre mood over the fashion industry.

With her trademark androgynous look, Tennant was one of the most in-demand models during the 1990s. Gracing innumerable runways and magazine covers, Tennant's boyish beauty and signature pixie crop were as instrumental in shaping the direction of fashion as Kate Moss's waif-like frame.

Beloved by designers, Tennant was often chosen for the finale look at shows, appearing alongside Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel and as the bride for Gianni Versace, as well as for the masculine edge she brought to a look.

Stella Tennant with designer Gianni Versace, for the spring 1996 haute couture collection for Versace. Getty Images
Stella Tennant with designer Gianni Versace, for the spring 1996 haute couture collection for Versace. Getty Images

Hailing from aristocratic stock, she was the granddaughter of the 11th Duke of Devonshire, Andrew Cavendish, and Deborah Mitford, and was the driving force behind turning Cavendish House into a fashion archive, when she stumbled upon boxes of original Balenciaga gowns stored in the attic.

With a priceless collection of couture gathered by her family, fashion was very much in Tennant's blood, yet it was a surprise when this upper class girl took to the runway in the early 1990s. Despite her fame, she largely stepped away from the industry in 1998, to better focus on raising her four children with her husband David Lasnet.

Various designers succeeded in luring Tennant out of retirement, however, including Alexander McQueen, Jean Paul Gaultier and Chanel, and when organisers were planning the closing ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics, Tennent was one of the handful of famous British faces chosen to represent the UK's standing in global fashion, alongside Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and David Gandy.

More recently, Tennant again took to the runway, walking for Berluti in 2018, and Alexander McQueen in 2019. For the Saint Laurent spring / summer 2020 collection, shown in Paris in September 2019, she wore a glistening black tuxedo, while for the summer 2020 haute couture collection for Valentino, in January 2020, she opened the show dressed in a strapless fishtail gown, layered with a sheer blouse and pussy bow tie. With her easy grace, and unique style, Tennant will be missed.