MARIOTESTINO+’s Head of Creative, Carolina Daher, talks us through the team’s much-anticipated Vogue Netherlands takeover.
How did you start the Vogue Netherlands takeover project?
CD: Ideas, vision, exploration, observation, experimentation, experience, skill and collaboration. These are the words that come to mind. Being a part of Mario’s takeover issues is one of the many perks that comes with being Head of Creative at MARIOTESTINO+. Every time it’s a very special journey – it is always totally different, and always very exciting. We explore the country from all aspects and we look at its culture. We also look at what is going on elsewhere in the world – the fashion, the mood… it all informs us and what we create. Mario has an endless source of great ideas, that we then explore and respond to.
Is there something particularly Dutch about the approach you took for this takeover?
CD: It’s an issue filled with ‘Dutch Love’. Love from Mario and his team, and love from the Netherlands. It has been a really great project, and we’ve embraced everything Dutch. The Netherlands represents freedom and openness – and also irreverence. All the models in the issue are Dutch, and the issue was shot in rapid succession over 5 days in the Netherlands. I feel the energy that created has been captured in the stories, which feel fresh – exploring the new, and showcasing the new. Finally, the cover is orange, which is oh so hot!
Holland has an extremely rich graphic history; did you find yourself inspired by that?
CD: Absolutely. We researched and explored the rich, and very cool, visual history and landscape of the Netherlands. We pinned our inspiration on the walls around the studio, as inspiration for new ideas. We evolved and shaped ideas – informing elements like the font, colour and treatment. We ended up with something totally unique and inspiring to us. Mario knows what he likes and what he doesn’t like. It’s great to work with someone with such a clear vision.
Is it a challenge expanding Mario’s visual language to layouts?
CD: A challenge? No. The responsibility to do our best? Yes. A pleasure to do? Absolutely, yes.
Has doing the takeover changed your perception of Holland?
CD: Yes – I am even more enthusiastic. There’s a very positive energy everywhere in Holland, with a lot of interesting work being done there. I loved the incredible warmth and beauty of everyone we worked with. The Vogue Netherlands team were really wonderful. It was such a special experience for all of us.
Do you plan the takeovers meticulously, or just go with what feels right as the images and words come together?
CD: Both. First I research and try things out, which is almost like creating a sketch. Once I have spoken to and seen Mario shooting the images, my work is then led by intuition. One might say, it is an informed intuition. Then the key is the creative dialogue with Mario, where we respond and shape ideas. It is a great process. In the best possible way, Mario forces you to play your best cards and up the game. I try to do this with him, but also with the rest of the team. We have a strong group of hand-picked and talented art directors, designers, fashion and film creatives and researchers. Whilst working on the print issue, we also work on editing the films, translating the mood and sometimes visual keys into moving image. Mario’s visual language is so powerful and energetic that it often feels very natural in film. For this issue, we created a little documentary where you’ll be able to see the positive energy and all the collaborations.
How has the Testino graphic language developed over the years?
CD: Mario Testino will always develop and evolve. Everyone and everything around him will evolve too, and that includes the graphic language. We also have a branded content platform Mira Mira that allows us to create our own content, to sit alongside this issue. We have a little fun there! Moving forward is an ongoing challenge. We never stand still. The takeover being yet another chapter, and it has been great. We are very happy and proud of the outcome. We are onto the next…
Check out the Vogue Netherlands film here.
Photographs © Mario Testino for Vogue Nederland