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Normally, when you're the evening's honoree, people in the room take pictures of you, not the other way around. Leave it to Mario Testino to turn the tables. The Peruvian-born photographer's closing statement from the dais at last night's El Museo del Barrio gala was to whip out a camera and take a snapshot. It earned him a huge round of applause. As the many Testino fans and collaborators in the room—including Carine Roitfeld, Donatella Versace, and Narciso Rodriguez—would attest, that's the way it often works.
"He has a way with things, to do whatever he wants," Versace told Style.com, recalling the occasion Testino (who was meeting her for the first time) shot her at her house in Milan and, upon entering, immediately went about rearranging the curtains. "We know that he will talk us into doing absolutely anything for him," Kate Winslet said in her introduction. "When Mario turns to you and says, 'It's beautiful, but I think it would be better naked, no?'—I wonder, how can one refuse?"
In addition to the gala's usual cadre of Spanish-speaking notables, this year's edition drew an extra contingent of models, including Joan Smalls, who owes her first feature in American Vogue to Testino, and Candice Swanepoel, who shot a Versace fragrance campaign with him a couple of weeks ago.
What's his secret? During his acceptance speech, Testino gamely shared one of them. "People think it's funny that I do castings for assistants," he said. "But I think it's very important to have good-looking people, because then the girls feel they are beautiful. And I feel that way, too, when they're carrying everything behind me." Including, of course, the latest piece of congratulatory hardware. But why shouldn't Testino be handing off awards to his attractive adjuncts? As Crystal Renn put it, "He makes you believe the dream."
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In the nineties, when supermodels reigned supreme, there was no bigger name in face-painting than François Nars. "There was a lot of spirit—and that confidence carries over," original CK One model Jenny Shimizu recalled of the era's stars last night at a party to celebrate Nars' latest achievement. That would be Makeup Your Mind: Express Yourself, the makeup maestro's new photography-meets-beauty book.
The new tome, a sequel to the 2001 debut of the same name, is similar in concept to the first; there are before-and-after shots with an acetate insert between the two detailing exactly where makeup was applied. But the 2.0 edition features a little twist in the form of 60 street-cast "models," rather than actual catwalkers. "The first book was models, the second was non-famous people, and there will be a third," Nars explained. "It's more like a trilogy. I always had in my mind that it would be three books."
The oversize volume is also chock-full of application tips, a few of which Alexa Chung has gleaned since starting out in the biz. "Little corner eyelashes make everyone look great," the It girl said before extolling the virtues of her signature black cat-eye. "When I started doing TV, they did a sixties eye and I thought, oh, sick, I'm going to start doing this every day, forever—to a point where a friend asked me the other day, is that a tattoo?" It's not. "I do wash my face," she swears. Chung has never had the pleasure of sitting in Nars' chair, but that could change with Makeup Your Mind's next installment. "The third one will be all celebrities," Nars revealed. Color us excited.