2016 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient: Mario Testino

Mario Testino OBE is widely regarded as one of the most influential and well-known fashion and portrait photographers of our time. His photographs have been published internationally in magazines such as Vogue, V Magazine and Vanity Fair. He has contributed to the success of leading fashion and beauty houses, creating emblematic images for brands from Gucci, Burberry, Versace and Michael Kors to Chanel, Estée Lauder and Lancôme.

Testino is known for his portraits of international icons including Kate Moss, Diana, Princess of Wales, Gisele Bündchen, Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Born in Lima, Peru, in 1954, Testino studied Law and Economics at the University of Lima, and International Affairs at the University of San Diego, California.

In l976 he moved to London and pursued his interest in fashion photography, under the influence of such classic British fashion photographers as Cecil Beaton.

Testino’s creative breakthrough came in the 1990s when he began drawing upon his own South American roots, bringing a brightness and vitality to fashion photography that was in radical contrast to the muted palette associated with the ‘grunge chic’ photography of that era.

Testino was an early champion of models who have since gone on to dominate the fashion world. His long-term working relationships with models Gisele Bündchen and Kate Moss are just two of the many vibrant collaborations that colour his career.

Early in his career Testino added commercial creative projects to his portfolio, and in 1995 he helped Gucci creative director Tom Ford re-launch the then-lagging multimillion-dollar-generating Italian luxury line. Since then, Testino has realized a very substantial body of work as a creative director, underpinning successful brands such as Michael Kors and Burberry, both of which he has collaborated with for well over a decade.

He also regularly serves as guest editor for a variety of magazines, including Vogue with which he has enjoyed an over 30-year relationship.

There are many facets to Mario Testino; in 2007 he formed MARIOTESTINO+, which supports the full breadth of his creative output and drives his business ventures. He has founded his own museum, MATE, in his native Lima with a rich exhibition and educational programme to further the image of his country both at home and abroad. He is President of the World Monuments Fund Peru and a generous and frequent donor to worthwhile charities both in Peru and further afield.

His engagement with the contemporary art scene wherever he may be working has led to some unique collaborations and a fascinating and very important collection.

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