Stella Tennant

Stella Tennant
Stella Tennant at London 2012 closing ceremony.jpg
Tennant at the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony
Born(1970-12-17)17 December 1970
London, England
Died22 December 2020(2020-12-22) (aged 50)
Cause of deathSuicide
  • Model
  • fashion designer
Years active1993–2020
David Lasnet
(m. 1999; sep. 2020)
Modelling information
Height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)[1]
Hair colourBrown[1]
Eye colourBlue[1]
AgencyDNA Model Management (New York)
VIVA Model Management (Paris, London, Barcelona)
Mega Model Agency (Hamburg)[1]

Stella Tennant (17 December 1970 – 22 December 2020) was a British model and fashion designer,[2] who rose to fame in the early 1990s and had a career that spanned almost 30 years. From an unconventional aristocratic family, she worked with Helmut Lang, Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen, and Gianni Versace.[3] and worked for haute couture names like Valentino, and Dior by John Galliano and with photographers Steven Meisel, Bruce Weber, Paolo Roversi, and Tim Walker. Over the years she appeared in advertising campaigns for Calvin Klein, Chanel, Hermès and Burberry.

Tennant won VH1/Vogue Model of the Year Award in 2001, 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; she was also inducted into the Scottish Fashion Awards Hall of Fame as Model of the Year in 2012.[4] At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, she was one of the British supermodels, with models Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss, walking the runway in the closing ceremony.[5]

In 2016, she co-designed a collection with Lady Isabel Cawdor for the Chanel owned London-based brand, Holland & Holland, she also ran Tennant & Son, a line of hand-knitted cashmeres and a luxury homewares company with her sister. For the last decade, she devoted most of her time looking after her four children and promoting sustainable causes.[6]

She died suddenly on 22 December 2020 shortly after her 50th birthday. Her family announced the following month that she took her own life[7] after being unwell for a prolonged period of time.[8]

Early life and education

Stella Tennant was born on 17 December 1970 in London, England,[9][10] the youngest of three children to the Hon. Tobias Tennant, son of the 2nd Baron Glenconner, and Lady Emma Cavendish.[11] She was the granddaughter of Andrew Cavendish, 11th Duke of Devonshire and his wife Deborah Mitford, the youngest of the Mitford sisters.[9] Stella was the great niece of the flamboyant socialite Stephen Tennant, and was directly descended from Bess of Hardwick, a notable figure of Elizabethan English society,[9] and a fourth cousin, once removed, to Diana, Princess of Wales.[6]

Raised on a 1,500-acre (6 km2) sheep farm that her parents ran at Newcastleton, in the Scottish Borders,[7] Tennant went to the local primary then attended St Leonards School in St Andrews[9] followed by Marlborough College[12] before completing a degree in sculpture at the Winchester School of Art.[13]


In 1993, Tennant sent photographs of herself to a high fashion magazine, and a friend introduced her to fashion writer Plum Sykes (Victoria Rowland). She had recently had her nasal septum pierced, which was an unusual look for models at the time.[14] Steven Meisel then used her on the cover of Italian Vogue.[14] Soon after, Karl Lagerfeld announced Tennant as the new face of Chanel, with an exclusive contract.[15][16] He is reported to have thought her reminiscent of Coco Chanel.[17][18] She also modelled frequently for other influential fashion photographers of the 1990s, including Mario Testino, David Sims and Mark Borthwick.[12] Priya Elan, writing in her Guardian obituary, credits her, together with Kate Moss and Erin O'Connor, with having "introduced an era of androgyny on the catwalk".[17]

Tennant appeared on fashion catwalks for Shiatzy Chen, Bill Blass, Dior and Chanel. She was a muse of the designers Karl Lagerfeld,[19] Gianni Versace,[18][20] Alexander McQueen, Nicolas Ghesquière, Riccardo Tisci and Victoria Beckham.[17] She also appeared in numerous other advertising campaigns, including Calvin Klein, Hermès, and in 2002 in an influential campaign for Burberry.[12] In 2010, she starred in L.K.Bennett's Spring Summer campaign photographed by Tim Walker.[21] During the Closing Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, Tennant along with Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss was one of the British models wearing fashions created by British designers specifically for the event.[12][22]

In 2016, Tennant and Lady Isabella Cawdor premiered a new ready to wear collection they designed for the gunmaker and clothing retailer Holland & Holland.[23] She continued to sculpt, and with her sister, a gilder, operated a luxury homewares company, Tennant & Tennant.[12][19]

Personal life

Tennant married French photographer and osteopath David Lasnet in the village of Oxnam, Roxburghshire, on 22 June 1999. They had four children together.[24] The family lived near Duns, in the small village of Edrom in Berwickshire, also in the Scottish Borders.[15] In August 2020, Tennant and Lasnet announced they had separated.[25]


Tennant died on 22 December 2020, aged 50,[18][26] in Duns, Scottish Borders, Scotland. According to her family, she died by suicide after struggling with her mental health.[8][27]


In 2009, Tennant worked with green lifestyle organisation Global Cool to promote using less energy at home. She made a video and became one of the faces of its campaign titled Turn Up the Style, Turn Down the Heat.[28] She also supported initiatives aimed at reducing fashion's effect on the environment,[18] including Oxfam's "Second Hand September".[29]

In August 2014, Tennant was one of 200 celebrities who signed a letter to The Guardian newspaper expressing their hope that Scotland would vote to remain part of the United Kingdom in September's referendum on that issue.[30]

Honours and awards

In June 2012, Tennant was inducted as Model of the Year into the Scottish Fashion Awards Hall of Fame at its annual awards event.[31]


  1. ^ a b c d "Stella Tennant". Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Model Profile – Stella Tennant". Free BMD. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  3. ^ Pithers, Ellie (23 December 2020). "Legendary British Model Stella Tennant Has Died". British Vogue.
  4. ^ Coffey, Helen (24 December 2020). "Stella Tennant: A life in pictures from 1970–2020". The Independent.
  5. ^ Karmali, Sarah (13 August 2012). "Olympic Closing Ceremony – Christopher Kane suit Stella Tennant supermodel segment". British Vogue.
  6. ^ a b Pithers, Ellie (23 December 2020). "The Fashion World Pays Tribute To The Inimitable Stella Tennant". British Vogue. Retrieved 25 December 2020.
  7. ^ a b Horwell, Veronica (25 December 2020). "Stella Tennant obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 December 2020.
  8. ^ a b Picheta, Rob. "Supermodel Stella Tennant took her own life, her family confirms". CNN. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  9. ^ a b c d Trebay, Guy (23 December 2020). "Stella Tennant, Aristocratic Model, Is Dead at 50". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 December 2020.
  10. ^ England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008.
  11. ^ "the peerage". the peerage. 31 March 1920.
  12. ^ a b c d e Hess, Liam (23 December 2020). "Stella Tennant, the Iconic British Model, Has Died at 50". Vogue. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  13. ^ Tennant, Stella (5 November 2018). "Cover Star Stella Tennant Reflects On The Vogue Shoot That Launched Her Career". Vogue. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  14. ^ a b Krupnick, Ellie (29 October 2011). "Stella Tennant's Pierced Nose Covers Vogue Italia". HuffPost. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  15. ^ a b "Model Profile – Stella Tennant". New York. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  16. ^ "Chanel S/S 13". Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  17. ^ a b c Priya Elan (23 December 2020). "Model Stella Tennant dies aged 50". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  18. ^ a b c d "Stella Tennant: Model dies days after 50th birthday". BBC News. 23 December 2020. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  19. ^ a b Hirschmiller, Stephanie (14 October 2013). "Stella Tennant's gilded talents". Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 29 May 2015.
  20. ^ "British supermodel Versace's muse Stella Tennant dies at 50". USA Today. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  21. ^ "Various Campaigns L.K. Bennett S/S 10". Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  22. ^ Karmali, Sarah (31 August 2012). "Olympics | Closing Couture". Vogue (UK). Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  23. ^ D'Souza, Christa (8 August 2016). "Stella Tennant and Lady Isabella Cawdor Are Reinventing Holland & Holland". W Magazine. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  24. ^ Colacello, Bob. "Inside Paris's 25th Annual le Bal des Débutantes". Vanity Fair.
  25. ^ Scanlan, Rebekah (24 December 2020). "British supermodel Stella Tennant dies suddenly at 50". Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  26. ^ Petrarca, Marisa. "Remembering Stella Tennant: Her life in images". Grazia. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  27. ^ Dixon, Hayley. "Stella Tennant took her own life after struggling with mental health". The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 January 2021.
  28. ^ "Stella Tennant helps you Turn Up The Style, Turn Down The Heat". Global Cool. 18 October 2010. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
  29. ^ Ellie Violet Bramley (27 August 2019). "Why Stella Tennant wants you to stop buying new clothes". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  30. ^ "Celebrities' open letter to Scotland – full text and list of signatories". The Guardian. 7 August 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  31. ^ Milligan, Lauren (12 June 2012). "Scottish Fashion Awards". Vogue. Retrieved 14 August 2015.

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