No Limits: Mario Testino And The Birth of Candice Swanepoel

No Limits: Mario Testino And The Birth of Candice Swanepoel

How one trip to Copenhagen ignited a supermodel's career—and inspired a new exhibition for the legendary photographer

How one trip to Copenhagen ignited a supermodel's career—and inspired a new exhibition for the legendary photographer

Photography: Mario Testino

Text: William Defebaugh

In the summer of 2010, Mario Testino took Candice Swanepoel on a whirlwind trip to Copenhagen to shoot her first fashion editorial for VMAN. It was a racy shoot for the then-relatively unknown model, for which the buxom blonde stripped down and suited up in luxe leather with an army of blonde male counterparts. As the story goes with many of today's supers, Swanepoel's editorial introduction with Testino sparked a massive explosion in her career—setting her on a trajectory to become a household name (that same year, she was given her wings as an official Victoria's Secret Angel). "Mario knows how to make all his girls feel safe and free," Swanepoel tells V. "That's why he is responsible for some of the most beautiful and iconic pictures. I always have the best time shooting with him."

Now, exactly six years later, the shoot will appear in Testino's exhibition, No Limits, in the same city in which it was photographed. The exhibition, on display today through September 18th at GL STRAND, highlights three pervasive themes in Testino's work, each with their own floor in the museum: fashion portraiture, nudes, and royal portraits mixed with high fashion images. The title of the exhibition comes from Testino's respect and admiration for the progressive and open-minded city, which he discovered while shooting with Spanepoel: “When in Copenhagen I feel a sense of freedom to be and do as you want… I have been attracted to it since the beginning… I did one of my favourite series for V Magazine there on a very hot summer day and I was so inspired by the freedom of the people.”

Click through the slideshow below to see "Candice Does Copenhagen" from VMAN20.

SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS CANDICE WEARS SWEATER LOUIS VUITTON BOOTS VINTAGE MALTHE WEARS SWEATER PRADA BRIEFS PANOS EMPORIO

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