Mario Testino a leading contemporary fashion photographer who has worked for major publications such as Vogue, V, Surface, & Style Magazine has stepped away from the commercial spotlight and into his own personal cultural in his series Alta Moda. Alta Moda literally translating to “high fashion” was an exhibition exploring his native Peruvian heritage. Sourcing luxurious, handmade costumes from the Cusco region he displayed his subjects in a traditional style studio. “Emphasizing the bright colors and ornate fabrics of the Peruvian wardrobe, Testino highlights everything from the montera, a hat decorated with plumes that men wear during the Carnaval de Ccatcca, to the numerous polleras (skirts) worn by women to exude social status and wealth.” (Cunningham 2013)
He is exploring traditional costume in a contemporary sense with commercial techniques. Beautiful work in the delicate nature of the costumes and the photographic image itself. “It’s always magic when high fashion and art blend into one in the same.” (Pallermo 2013) High fashion in itself is to be appreciated for its creative abilities and its techniques of handicraft. Cunningham (2013) adds “The costumes’ decorative nature–with their rich embroidery and opulent patterns–provides the “high fashion” quality of Testino’s work.” The two paired together are an unforgettable mix of beauty. Beauty is a well-explored element in both fashion and art and Testino captures the two undeniably. The beauty of this series is the culture it also captures and through Testino’s network of an audience others are invited in to appreciate the Peruvian culture. His approach is very contemporary in design, which is juxtaposed well against the traditional costumes. We are given the opportunity to view fashion through an artistic lens. Most fashion is viewed through catwalk shows seasonally twice a year but this gives us a snapshot into a culture that was prolific many years ago. High fashion is given to us in a new perspective.
Cunningham, E 2013, ‘Alta Moda’ Exhibit Pays Tribute to Mario Testino’s Peruvian Roots: The famed fashion photographer strays from his typical celebrity subject matter to shoot the brilliant colors, patterns, and fabrics worn by locals from his native Peru, The Daily Beast [New York], viewed 28th September 2015 <http://search.proquest.com.libraryproxy.griffith.edu.au/docview/1662692333?pq-origsite=summon>
Pallermo, O 2013, Mario Testino, Alta Moda, viewed 26th September 2015 < http://oliviapalermo.com/mario-testino-alta-moda/>