Stella Tennant, the unimpeachably aristocratic model and inspiration to designers like Karl Lagerfeld and Gianni Versace, died on Tuesday in Duns, Scotland. She was 50.
Her death was announced by her family, which did not provide a cause. Police reports noted no suspicious circumstances surrounding her death, according to the BBC.
The granddaughter of Andrew Cavendish, the 11th Duke of Devonshire, and Deborah Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, the youngest of the Mitford sisters, Ms. Tennant was directly descended from Bess of Hardwick, builder of the opulent Elizabethan manor Hardwick Hall, who was once reputed to be the richest woman in England.
Ms. Tennant wore her rarefied heritage lightly throughout her three-decade run in fashion, during which she walked the runways for most major fashion designers; was featured in advertising campaigns for nearly every important label; appeared on scores of magazine covers; and worked with a full roster of the world’s elite photographers, editors, makeup artists and stylists.
Along with Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss, Ms. Tennant was chosen to represent English fashion at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympics. In the late 1990s, Karl Lagerfeld signed her to an exclusive contract as the face of Chanel. In doing so, Mr. Lagerfeld noted the very English Ms. Tennant’s likeness to the incomparably Gallic founder of that fabled house.
It was a fanciful assertion by any standard, given that Coco Chanel was short and better known for her style than her looks, while Ms. Tennant stood nearly six feet, had crisply regular features and retained into adulthood the “limpid blue eyes” her grandmother Deborah Devonshire first noted in a letter to the Anglo-Irish writer Patrick Leigh Fermor
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