FACE TIME WITH VISIONAIRE

Byline: Eric Wilson

NEW YORK — The contingency of international designers in town this week for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute benefit gathered for a different sort of dinner on Tuesday at Indochine to check out Visionaire’s 35th issue, the second collaboration with photographer Mario Testino acting as guest editor.
“This is a completely different crowd,” said Domenico Dolce of Dolce & Gabbana, surveying a room that also included designers Hedi Slimane, Daryl Kerrigan and Isabel and Ruben Toledo, as well as models Stella Tennant, Audrey Marnay and Anouck Lepere. “It’s much more downtown.”
Photographers Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin passed on the Met, but are in town for a while, having wrapped up their first video project in London for a new release from Bjork. Matadin said that the project has taken more than a year, and basically includes a long focus on the artist’s face.
“It will probably become known as the most boring video ever made,” he teased.
The new Visionaire, however, certainly will have people talking. It’s a follow-up to his 1997 issue called “Chic” and explores different aspects of manhood. The book opens with ads from the Seventies for Yves Saint Laurent, Gianni Versace and Blackglama that have become iconic images of men in advertising, reproduced with the photographers’ credits. The issue also includes contributions from several models who were asked to submit photos of the men in their lives. Claudia Schiffer sent in a photo of a bare leg, Sadie Frost sent what is clearly identifiable as Jude Law’s left eye, Cindy Crawford photographed what is presumably husband Rande Gerber in a bath with their child, but the real mystery comes from Gisele Bundchen — romantically linked with Leonardo DiCaprio — whose contribution is of a man shot from behind with his pants down.
“Sometimes our contributors consider Visionaire as a way to see how much they can get away with,” said editor and creative director Stephen Gan. “I don’t think they’re setting up to shock people, but it’s another outlet for their creative freedom.”
As dinner concluded, Latin dance champs Tony Meredith and Malanie Lapatini coaxed Testino from his chair to join them in an impromptu salsa. The lensman, a native of Peru, complied without batting an eye.
“A man never says no to a woman,” he said. “That’s not what we were taught in South America.”

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