Armed with trusty Nikon and a silver tongue, Dave Benett is the UK’s leading social photographer, darting behind-the-scenes and amid the bulbs to capture his iconic portraits. Whether it’s a nonchalant Bella Hadid kicking up her feet or Natalia Vodianova surging onto the dance floor, take a look through Benett’s eyes with these 10 Shots (and stay tuned for Mario’s favourite shot at number 11).
DB: For me what makes this really fun is that Bella’s such a child of now. She’s of a slightly naughty, cheeky disposition and 2016 was really Bella Hadid’s year. I remember she totally stole Cannes that year when she wore that red dress, but here she has the whole 'enfant terrible' vibe, putting her shoes on the table - because she can!
DB: This was the premiere for 'Cold Mountain', with Jude and Nicole showing a brave face. Look at how great the chemistry between them was!
DB: That is one of my favourites, and my best Kate Moss picture. It amazingly got into Rizzoli’s '25 Years of Kate Moss' book, where the curator Jefferson Hack remembered this shot. She was leaving Mario’s exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. I think I’m the only pap photographer to get a shot in that book full of such great photographers! It’s always reminded me of James Dean in 'Giant', with the rifle slung over his shoulder, or in 'Rebel Without a Cause'.
DB: This felt like one of the first times England had hosted such a superstar designer event. I couldn’t resist getting the two Princes together! And in between of course, Lenny Kravitz and Donatella, the worlds of rock, design and proper royalty colliding. Behind Prince is Mayte Garcia his wife.
DB: Obviously Natalia’s always the heart of the party! I think she had won Model of the Year at the Harper’s Bazaar Women of the Year Awards. She’s so natural and she’s always first on the dancefloor!
DB: That was taken at the Evening Standard Drama Awards. You can just imagine this being Clark Gable or Humphrey Bogart with Lauren Bacall, it’s such a great shot! And it says so much, I think a picture says a thousand words really, there’s a sensitivity there with her holding his arm.
DB: They were the stars of the show, and its ambassadors, basically having a great time clapping and encouraging their younger friends. They were celebrating the models that year, and you can see the craziness all around them. Karlie tends to take over, she’s quite the leader when the girls are all together!
DB: One of my rare ventures into Paris, I just loved the pink roses. All of the women are such great actresses and you see them in a more light hearted way and they’re really at ease. You can see it in their faces.
DB: This was at the after-party for 'Four Weddings and a Funeral'. I love that Hugh doesn’t realise this is being taken! Because it was for 'Four Weddings', everyone was dressed in summer wedding clothes. Legend has it that Liz called the Versace office at the last minute, and she was relatively new at that point, and they just said – “we could give her that old dress from last year!” And that’s what it was – but when she arrived everyone was stunned. Everyone was trying to shoot the dress right, and I just jumped on the steps a couple above her and she turned and gave me a blast of the full Hurley! And everyone was just stunned, for the whole evening everyone was trying desperately to copy it, but it was too late, the moment was over.
DB: This was where we were starting to see pop stars helping fashion and fashion brands for the first time. The Spice Girls were all about Girl Power, and they must have totally propelled Julien MacDonald by walking that show. It’s a real Girl Power show. Mel C behind just can’t believe her friend up there doing it, and you can see Posh in the background as well. Everyone just having a great time watching her walk. I suppose for the first time celebrity photographers were coming to shows because there were so many celebrities now involved with designers – it’s all part of the make up now of course. We’re basically opposite to most of the photographers, I love capturing things from the other side. We’re practically on the runway – I probably got told off after that!
Photographs © Dave Benett