In the first weekend in December, Business of Fashion rounded the industry’s leading figures to celebrate the inaugural BoF VOICES conference. As the recipient of the Global VOICES award, Mario was in conversation with BoF CEO Imran Amed, as they dialled back on his career behind the camera. Here are the top ten insights from their conversation, shedding light on pivotal moments of a colourful career.
MT: It wasn’t what I wanted to do, I was obsessed with models, and thought celebrities had this fixed point of view of themselves. But Diana said "you’re the one in charge." I didn’t realise how much we had changed her until the pictures came out.
MT: I like the idea that a fashion photograph has a purpose – it’s not just to be pretty, it has to create a desire… I thrive on that, on the association of art and commerce.
MT: I have to say Carine was the most pivotal fashion editor for me… and that Tom Ford taught me all about advertising.
MT: Carine Roitfeld and I always had a sense of thinking in a similar way… we like sex!
MT: Gucci, with Tom Ford, was this marriage between American money and Italian aristocracy.
MT: A lot of actresses started calling me after I shot Diana, but when I found Gisele, I became obsessed with her. She lights up the room.
MT: British Vogue is all about imagination, US Vogue is about elegance, Paris Vogue is about chic, haute couture. [I learnt that] Vogues are like brands, each is a different society.
MT: The one thing that I love about Instagram is that it’s me and my readers, I’ve been communicating to people that like what I do through my clients and all of a sudden a lot of it happens directly between me and them!
MT: Gigi is now in that small group of real supermodels, people who are able to drive a business… She has an energy that comes from within – with her in the studio you just can’t get enough.
MT: When it came to making this book, Alta Moda, I realized that my own culture was all about fashion! Photographs © Mario Testino