L'Oeil de La Lettre
Kate Winslet and Mario Testino. Photo Nick Hunt
Hamish Bowles and Anna Wintour, Vogue. Photo Leandro Justen
Carolyn Murphy, Stephen Gan, Creative Director at Harper's Bazaar and Carine Roitfeld. Photo Patrick McMullan
Josh Hartnett, Courtney Love and Sophia Lie. Photo Nick Hunt
Mario Testino and Alex Gonzalez, Creative Director at W. Photo Nick Hunt
Tony Bechara, artist and El Museo´s chairman of the board and Yaz Hernandez. Photo Nick Hunt
“Kate Moss and Kate Middleton weren’t available this evening so I guess you’re stuck with the other Kate,” quipped Kate Winslet as she opened her speech in tribute to Mario Testino. Photo Nick Hunt
Stefano Tonchi, Editor-in-cihief, W. Photo Nick Hunt
Grace Coddington. Photo Leandro Justen
Anna Wintour and Kate Winslet. Photo Patrick McMullan
Andre Balazs and Claudia Fernandez. Photo Patrick McMullan
Courtney Love. Photo Patrick McMullan
Candice Swanepoel and Liya Kebede, models. Photo Patrick McMullan
James and Lucy Danzinger. Photo Leandro Justen
Donatella Versace. Photo Leandro Justen
Mario Testino. Photo Nick Hunt
Susanne Diaz, Brad Kroenig and Harley Viera-Newton. Photo Patrick McMullan
Joan Smalls and Hanaa Ben Abdesslem, models. Photo Leandro Justen
Michelle Harper. Photo Leandro Justen
“Kate Moss and Kate Middleton weren’t available this evening so I guess you’re stuck with the other Kate,” quipped Kate Winslet as she opened her speech in tribute to Mario Testino, who received a lifetime artistic achievement award celebrating his 30-year career at the annual Gala to benefit El Museo Del Barrio held on May 26 at Cipriani 42 Street, in New York City.
Ms. Winslet was one of a glittering array of stars in the constellation that makes Mario Testino the most desired photographers on the face of the earth. Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington, Tamara Mellon, Nicole Miller, John Legend, Joan Smalls, Carine Roitfeld, Donatella Versace, Courtney Love, Josh Hartnett, Hamish Bowles and Stephen Gan were among the 600 guests in attendance at the event, which raise $1million USD for El Museo, New York’s leading Latino cultural institution.
Testino, who was born in Lima, Peru, observed, “To receive this award from El Museo del Barrio is very special, because it is an institution that supports and promotes the art and artists of Latin America. Being recognized by my own people is particularly meaningful to me. When I left Peru and my family wanted me to go into something more established, be it engineering, or an architect, or a doctor, and I told them that I would be a photographer, it was a shock—almost a letdown—as I had been such a good student at school. This evening makes me feel like it is official, that I made the right choice.”
His most recent commission from the royal family notwithstanding, Testino has become one of the world’s most well-known and celebrated fashion photographers. As well as having published nine books of his work and edited another dedicated to contemporary Peruvian art and artists, he has also exhibited his work at The National Portrait Gallery in London, which Milan, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Tokyo, Mexico City, and Lima over a period of eight years. More recently, in September 2010, the Museo Thyssen Bornemisza in Madrid hosted Testino’s latest exhibition Todo o Nada.
“How can one possibly sum up the genius of Mario Testino?” Kate Winslet asked, as she introduced the photographer to the guests at El Museo Gala. For a few in the audience including some of the biggest models working today, she spoke directly, describing the thrill of hearing his name on a shoot. Ms. Winslet continued, “Whether editor, actor, or model we all have one thing in common—we are in the best hands. Mario can talk us in to doing anything for him and that’s because we can trust him. He can create a unique, disarming, and timeless image that is beyond all expectations. Mario sees people for who they really are and creates the perfect working atmosphere. He’s the person who can say, ‘It’s beautiful but it would look better naked.’ How can one refuse? It’s all about trust. Whatever makes one insecure, Mario will make disappear like a magician, saying, ‘Don’t worry, it’s going to be amazing.’ His vision is clear, direct, honest, and his strength is making women look beautiful.”
Ms. Winslet then presented Mr. Testino with a sterling silver tray created especially by the artists of Asprey of London. The tray is engraved with the signatures of 35 of his dearest friends and colleagues including Naomi Campbell, Graydon Carter, Oscar de la Renta, Tom Ford, Carolina Herrera, Michael Kors, Blake Lively, Sienna Miller, Demi Moore, Julianne Moore, Sarah Jessica Parker, Julia Roberts, Claudia Schiffer, and Charlize Theron, among others.
In accepting the award, Mr. Testino said, “In my profession I would love to say it’s all about me but it isn’t. It’s all about who you work with. You’re only as good as your editor, your hairstylist, your make-up artist, model or actress, and your editor in chief who understands what you are going to give them. Years ago I was given a plaque in Los Angeles at the Rodeo Drive Walk of Style Awards and Anna Wintour gave me a party. I said to her that there was this ad on the buses in New York. It said, ‘Before you are in fashion you are in Vogue.’ And I have to say before I was in fashion, I was in Vogue because she decided I was a good photographer.”
Over the past three decades, many more have agreed. Testino has received recognitions for his achievements with a Doctor Emeritus from the University of the Arts, London; Medalha Tiradentes from the City of Rio de Janerio, Brazil; and the Order of Merit from the City of Lima, Peru. In May 2010 he was awarded with a special recognition, the Grand Cross rank of the Order of Merit for Distinguished Service in Peru, presented to him by the President of Peru and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs.
His recent charity work included financing the construction of El Salvador Clinic in the Pueblo Nuevo District in Chincha. This clinic, built for children with Tuberculosis in the area badly affected by the devastating earthquake that hit the coast of Peru in August 2007, was entirely funded from the sale of a single print of Testino’s iconic portraits of the late Princess Diana.
At the Gala, Mr. Testino commented, “It’s incredible to be here tonight. There’s a saying that you’re never a prophet in you own land and getting an award from El Museo del Barrio is a very special thing for me because at the end of the day it’s like saying maybe I am a prophet in my own land in the sense that I am being recognized by my own community.”