Dressy snapper Testino has a date with Beijing
Mario Testino, the Peruvian-born photographer who has snapped everyone from Princess Diana to Kate Moss, is coming to China. He is one of the most sought-after campaign photographers for brands such as Gucci and Burberry, which backed his first exhibition in China at Beijing's Today Art Museum.
The exhibition launch was hosted by Burberry creative director Christopher Bailey, Testino and Vogue China's Angelica Cheung. Guests were invited for a preview of Testino's exhibit, titled 'Private View', before it opened to the public yesterday.
For those who know Testino's work, it's hardly surprising that this event is sponsored by a big fashion brand. He has, after all, been working with the label for more than 15 years. With Bailey's young British vibe, the pair have created a number of talked-about campaigns over the years and launched many young, talented Britons into the limelight, the latest being actress Gabriella Wilde and musician Roo Panes, stars of the label's autumn-winter 2012-13 campaign.
This isn't the first time Burberry has supported Testino's art career. It sponsored his 'Mario Testino: Portraits' exhibition at London's National Portrait Gallery in 2002.
With Testino's work appearing regularly in glossy magazines, I wonder how this commercial link with a fashion label will affect his audience. I suspect that in Beijing, and Asia generally, the commercial branding of art is more heavy handed. Asian audiences seem less likely to be put off by obvious branding than Western ones. Perhaps it's a matter of market maturity when it comes to luxury and branding the arts.
Either way, the exhibition will capture attention in China. Testino's works are glamorous, beautiful and easy to digest. The elegance in his compositions translates worldwide, and with China's fashion imagery becoming more sophisticated, it will no doubt provide much inspiration to the country's creatives.