V100: Mario Testino's Towel Series For Instagram

V100: Mario Testino's Towel Series For Instagram

MARIO TESTINO’S “TOWEL SERIES” ISN’T JUST A HASHTAG, IT’S A REVELATION. THE MAN HIMSELF EXPOUNDS ON WHAT’S BEHIND THE WHITE TERRYCLOTH

MARIO TESTINO’S “TOWEL SERIES” ISN’T JUST A HASHTAG, IT’S A REVELATION. THE MAN HIMSELF EXPOUNDS ON WHAT’S BEHIND THE WHITE TERRYCLOTH

Photography: Mario Testino

When I started out on social media—on Instagram first—I was torn by what I should use it for and what was right for me. I am not a 20-year-old going out to parties every night, photographing what I’m eating or wearing, and sharing it with friends. I had a few different options. I could look through my archive and post work I had done in the past—things people may have forgotten about or work that had become iconic. I could post what I’m doing and working on right now. Or I could use it to show what I appreciate aesthetically.

One day, just a few weeks after I launched my Instagram account, I was with Kate Moss on a shoot. She was going to an event straight afterwards and had to remove all of her makeup. After showering, she came out of the dressing room in a robe, with a towel on her head. I thought, God, women always look amazing with towels around their heads...and how many people actually get to see Kate Moss coming out of the shower, in just a robe? It was that very moment that I captured for my first image in the “Towel Series” for Instagram. The interesting thing about the towel is that, even though in it you are not completely covered, it serves as both a tool for drying and as a protective barrier. In a towel, you are clothed, but naked.

Following Kate, I photographed a couple of other women at shoots, like Candice Swanepoel, Edita Vilkevičiūtė, and Kate Upton. I thought, I have this incredible opportunity; I can do this more often. It sort of exposes a private side, something that they wouldn’t give to anybody else. At the same time, it brings them to their most basic, because you get rid of all the jewelry, clothes, and other enhancements. They are brought back to a purer state.

Of course, sometimes they’re made up and sometimes they’re not, but the towel variable is a way of getting to their essence. So, I got really excited by this idea and started doing it non-stop. In a funny way, it’s like a record of my life, of who I meet, who I work with, who I come across, and of my point of view and personal taste. For many years, I’ve worked through magazines and clients. This time, I decide who’s in, who’s not, how they’re in, how I photograph them, and when I post the picture. It’s an opportunity for me to be my own editor.

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