Born in Munich, Germany, she studied scenography at Bologna’s School of Art.
She began her career in 1991 as an assistant to costume designer Moidele Bickel for Peter Stein and Chloè Obolensky’s shows at Salzburg Festival. Her love for Italy led her to continue her career there. Later in 1991 she designed costumes for Thierry Salmon’s Three studies on Demons. In 1994 she worked on Richard III directed by Claudio Morganti, and later on Lear Opera and Totò Prince of Denmark directed by Leo de Berardinis. An important turning point in her career came in 2001 when she met director Mario Martone, with whom she worked on The 10 Commandments, The Secret Opera produced by Naples Teatro Mercadante, Small Moral Works, A Night in Colono, Carmen and Danton’s Death for Turin Teatro Stabile.
Within the Rossini Opera Festival, Patzak designed costumes for three operas directed by Martone: Matilde of Shabran in 2004 ( staged also in 2008 at London Covent Garden), Torvaldo and Dorliska and Aureliano in Palmira. She created costumes for Monteverdi’s Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, directed by Giorgio Battistelli for Ravello Festival. In 2006 she worked on Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro staged at Teatro San Carlo, Verdi’s Falstaff and Macbeth staged at Paris’ Théâtre des Champs Elysées and Othello at Tokyo New National Theatre. In 2011 she made her debut at Milan Teatro alla Scala with Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci directed by Martone, followed by Luisa Miller in 2012, Oberto, Conte di San Bonifacio in 2013 and The Jesters’ Supper in 2016. In 2012 she worked on Fidelio, opening opera of Turin Teatro Regio season. She also designed costumes for Curlew River, Prodigal Son and The Bassarids staged at Rome Teatro dell’Opera.
She joined up with comics artist Guido Crepax on Lulu staged at Palermo Teatro Massimo and with Sergio Tramonti on Don Giovanni at Teatro San Carlo, directed by Martone.
She teamed up with artist Anselm Kiefer for costume design of Elektra at Naples Teatro San Carlo; she created costumes for Idomeneo, Elektra, Curlew River and Maria Stuart, all directed by Andrea De Rosa. She also worked with director Luca Ronconi on Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice produced by Milan Piccolo Teatro and with Jean Louis Martinelli at Nanterre Amandiers Theatre where she designed costumes for Ithaka by Botho Strauss, Britannicus by Racine and Moliere’s The Miser.
In 2009 she ventured in the world of costume design for film, working on Noi Credevamo directed by Martone, that earned her the David di Donatello and Ciak d’oro in 2011. She also designed costumes for Acciaio by Stefano Mordini and Un giorno speciale by Francesca Comencini. In 2015, her work for Il Giovane Favoloso directed by Martone was awarded once again the David di Donatello and Ciak d’oro.