El Museo Del Barrio Honors Mario Testino
New York's El Museo del Barrio held its annual Gala on Thursday, May 26, at Cipriani 42nd Street to honor fashion photographer Mario Testino with a lifetime artistic achievement award celebrating his 30-year career. With 600 guests in attendance, the event raised $1,000,000 for the Museum.
Kate Winslet presented El Museo’s lifetime achievement award to Mr. Testino. This unique award, created especially by the artists of Asprey of London, is a sterling silver tray engraved with the signatures of 35 of his dearest friends and colleagues including Christopher Bailey, Hamish Bowles, Naomi Campbell, Graydon Carter, Lucinda L. Chambers, Grace Coddington, Francisco Costa, Oscar de la Renta, Victoria Fernandez, Tom Ford, Alex Gonzalez, Tonne Goodman, Yaz Hernandez, Carolina Herrera, Elizabeth Hurley, Michael Kors, Andre Leon Talley, Blake Lively, Raul Martinez, Sienna Miller, Demi Moore, Julianne Moore, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sasha Pivovarova, Candy Pratts Price, Julia Roberts, Narciso Rodriguez, Carine Roitfeld, Claudia Schiffer, Alexandra Shulman, Charlize Theron, Donatella Versace, Natalia Vodianova, Kate Winslet, and Anna Wintour.
In her speech, Ms. Winslet said, “Kate Moss and Kate Middleton weren't available this evening so I guess you're stuck with the other Kate…. How can one possibly sum up the genius of Mario Testino and the thrill of hearing his name on a shoot? 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.”
In accepting the award, Mr. Testino said, “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. I’d like to thank the committee of El Museo, Alex Gonzalez because I know it was your idea. 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. Many people did not agree with her and it’s taken me thirty years to prove to them that there was something good in my work. I’d like to thank all those editors that have spent years teaching me and nurturing me.”
The festivities began with cocktails sponsored by Macchu Pisco and guests danced to music provided by DJ Alexandra Richards and the band Spam Allstars, which blended improvisational electronic elements and turntables with latin, funk, hip hop, and dub.
For additional information, go to www.elmuseo.org.