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Tales from Testino’s traveling companion

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If anyone is qualified to speak about the jet-setting fashion shutterbug Mario Testino at the Museum of Fine Arts, it’s Vogue’s International Editor at Large and resident bon vivant Hamish Bowles. The two fashion dynamos first worked together in the shoulder pad-friendly year of 1983, and, for the following nine years, they traversed the globe turning fashion into glossy art. “The very first fashion sitting I ever did was with Mario and it was menswear,” Bowles said before a discussion Thursday with the MFA’s Fashion Council. “It was the beginning of a really great and fruitful working relationship.” Testino, whose work is on display at the museum, traveled with Bowles to several exotic locales, including Morocco, Peru, Brazil, Egypt, Spain, and France. In many cases, they traveled with a minimal budget as Testino charmed his way into elaborate homes for the photo shoots. “It was enormous fun because, in many ways, Mario is a life-enhancer,” Bowles said over coffee. “Even during the biggest disasters, he would always make something magic happen.” Bowles toured the Testino show “In Your Face,” but he also had a distinctly Boston moment at the museum. Before his talk, he darted off to the American Wing to admire the work of painter John Singer Sargent.

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