© Sheila Metzner
The inestimable Tina Chow - five lines to sum up a living sculpture of porcelain perfection: delicacy and strength, courage and character, soigné, taste, humor, wisdom endurance, lissome grace and deep beauty ... a petunia in an onion patch .... And my lifelong frustration for never having followed through on our plans for a T.C. portrait, postponed and postponed too long.
Peter Beard, anthropologist, diarist African book maker, stone co!lector.
When Tina Chow died on ]anuary 24, 1992, a page was tumed in the AIDS history book. As Michael Gross wrote in New York magazine, she became "the first prominent woman to die of AIDS and admit--or, more precisely, announce-that she'd been infected through heterosexual sex." Chow was, of course, a famous model, having posed for photographers such as Helmut Newton, Herb Ritts, David Seidner, and Sheila Metzner. But her importance to photography ran far deeper. She was a creative force in her own right, a fashion and jewelry designer and, as the wife of Michael Chow and hostess of the Mr. Chow restaurants, the center of the most glittering social scene of the past two decades--a high-light culture of artists, designers, photographers, and others. Tina Chow was a spirit who sparked and created heat, a true muse. "She was a match that lights some things and helps them burn brighter, "said designer Zandra Rhodes. She was 41 when she died.