High Peruvian Fashion

Mario Testino: High Peruvian Fashion

Grace Piney

Mario Testino presents an exhibition of traditional Peruvian costumes.


The great Peruvian photographer Mario Testino presents Alta Moda at his MATE Foundation in Lima, Peru. The exhibit contains 27 photographs of traditional costumes from Cuzco, the ancient Inca capital, that highlight the beauty and intricacy of Peruvian art.

On the days leading to the exhibit, he mentioned his interest in creating a museum dedicated to costumes. Testino is recognized as one of the world’s most influential fashion photographers, and his work with the super models and celebrities is widely known.


The images he captured in 1997 of Princess Diana, for Vanity Fair, are unforgettable. The princess wore a stunning Catherine Walker gown, which was recently auctioned in Britain.

Testino currently lives in London, but his homeland, Peru, continues to inform and influence his latest work. He speaks proudly about his country: its art and its people. This pride drives and motivates his interest in documenting Peruvian customs, art and traditions, with the objective of bringing greater visibility to this millenary culture.

His wish is to use his influence to rescue the nobility, power and beauty of Peruvian art. According to the artist: “in my fashion photographs, I aim to bring out the personality of the subjects, to make them look more beautiful, more powerful, more interesting.” That’s what he has achieved with this exhibition.

The number of dresses rescued by Testino for the exhibit is amazing; many had never been cataloged before. Their colors, textures, the art of the filigree in the designs, show delicate and masterful craftsmanship. By documenting the art contained in these traditional costumes, through photography, Testino leads the way for the development of other Peruvian artists.

Alta Moda includes portraits of men and women wearing traditional garb from the provinces around Cuzco: Calca, Chumbivilcas, Espinar and Paucartambo, among others. It took the artist four years to complete the field work. The display also includes five dresses from Dior 2005, created by John Galliano after a trip he made to Peru.

Alta Moda is available to the public at MATE Cultural Foundation, founded by the artist in 2012, in the heart of the Barranco district of Lima, Peru. It will travel to New York and Dallas, and later to other countries. With this new exhibition, Mario Testino brings the beauty and elegance of Peruvian traditional costumes to the international stage.


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