Grace's greatest photographers – Mario Testino
To celebrate the publication of Saving Grace: My Fashion Archive 1968-2016, Vogue's Grace Coddington recalls some of her favourite photographers, including this Peruvian master who “manages to keep the mood up, up, up”
There’s no one in the fashion industry who’s had a career quite like Grace Coddington. US Vogue’s creative director at large began her career modeling in London, when the city was truly swinging, and is still working, five decades later, in her adoptive home of New York.
Our new title Saving Grace: My Fashion Archive 1968-2016 is a stunning two-book collection that spans her remarkable career. The box set includes Grace: Thirty Years of Fashion at Vogue and Grace: The American Vogue Years.
One of the few contributors to appear in both volumes is the Peruvian-born photographer Mario Testino. In some repsects, Grace and Mario are quite alike. They are, as Grace explains, good travellers. “His life is all about jumping off one plane and on to another. He knows the best restaurants in any given town,” she writes in Grace: Thirty Years of Fashion at Vogue, “and always manages to keep the mood up, up, up. His pictures have an infectious sort of vibrancy, bursting with a love of life not often seen in fashion photography today.”
Yet in other respects, they are quite different. “He sometimes tries to persuade me to make my work look hot and sexy - not very me,” Grace writes. “But I adore his humour. He’s totally comfortable shooting offbeat personalities.”
The photographer’s vivacious side is something Grace expands on in her second Phaidon book Grace: The American Vogue Years, also included in Saving Grace.
“You can almost hear the catcalls in Mario’s photographs,” she writes. “Whether the girls are in bikinis or ball gowns, they’re always objects of intense male admiration. His photographs are also great fun because they always have a colourful cast of incredible looking people in them. Even a punk-rocker seems perfectly at home among a troupe of young dancers from the Royal Ballet, with Kate Moss in the mix.
“One of Mario’s other talents is that wherever he goes, he seems to know everyone, from Madonna and the biggest plastic surgeon in Brazil to the most obscure member of the Spanish aristocracy and a group of Neapolitan ragazzi. Within a couple of hours of arriving almost anywhere, he will have recruited a crowd equally eclectic and always ready to have their picture taken.”
To see more of Testino’s pictures order Saving Grace here. You can also order Grace: The American Vogue Years here and Grace: Thirty Years of Fashion at Vogue here, and, to see a selection of Testino’s more candid shots, try his vintage 1998 photobook Any Objections?, which has just come back in stock in our store.