MARIO’S MOMENT: The French government paid tribute to Mario Testino and his services to culture on Tuesday, awarding him the Légion d’Honneur, France’s highest civilian distinction.
Testino received the honor from the French ambassador to Peru, Fabrice Mauriès, during a small ceremony at the French residence in Lima where the photographer was born and raised.
“France is happy to show its recognition today to a person who contributes to the development of young Peruvians as well as to the appreciation of the art and cultural heritage of their nation,” said Mauriès, acknowledging Testino’s philanthropic contributions in Peru through his cultural foundation Museo Mate, as well as his creative work.
The recognition made Testino recall the earlier stages in his career when he worked for French language titles alongside Carine Roitfeld, crediting the country for helping him define his signature aesthetic.
“I found my style when working with Carine Roitfeld — first for French Glamour magazine, and then for French Vogue,” the photographer said. “Carine pushed me to go into the South American mode that I had developed in my nude photography, suggesting I apply this to my fashion work. At the time, I worked with a French team continuously — Tom Pecheux for makeup and Marc Lopez for hair. The whole period of the Nineties they were by my side. These were the golden years in my career where I became a well-known photographer.”
As of late, the photographer has been continuing to work with Vogue on a global scale. One of his most recent projects was a takeover issue for Vogue India featuring Kendall Jenner. He also launched “Undressed” earlier this month, an exhibition and accompanying book by the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin that features nude photography.