Mario Testino will not take Royal wedding portraits after accusations of sexual exploitation

Fashion photographer Mario Testino. (AP)
Updated 15 January 2018
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Mario Testino will not take Royal wedding portraits after accusations of sexual exploitation

Fashion photographer Mario Testino has been ruled out as the official photographer for the British Royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after being accused of sexually exploiting models and assistants.
In a sweeping new sexual misconduct investigation, The New York Times reported Saturday that several male models have accused the famed photographer of unwanted advances and coercion.
Testino had been the “front-runner” to take the wedding portraits, according to British daily The Telegraph, but has now been disqualified following allegations of sexual harassment.
Testino, adored by celebrities, glossy magazines including Vogue, became the Royal family’s preferred photographer after taking the last official portraits of Princess Diana before her death in 1997. Prince William and Kate Middleton chose Testino for their engagement in 2010 and picked him as photographer for their daughter princess Charlotte’s christening pictures in 2015.
The law firm representing Testino challenged the character and credibility of people who complained of harassment.
Testino’s attorney, Andrew Brettler, said in an email to The Associated Press late Saturday, “We are not providing any further comment at this time.”
Model Ryan Locke worked with Testino on Gucci ad campaigns and called him a “sexual predator.” He told the Times that when he told other models he was going to meet Testino for a possible casting “everyone started making these jokes — they said he was notorious, and ‘tighten your belt.’“
On the last day of a shoot, as they were taking photographs on a bed, Testino told everybody in the room to leave and locked the door, Locke recalled.
“Then he crawls on the bed, climbs on top of me and says, ‘I’m the girl, you’re the boy,’” Locke said. “I went at him, like, you better get away. I threw the towel on him, put my clothes on and walked out.”
Former assistants said Testino had a pattern of hiring young, heterosexual men and subjecting them to increasingly aggressive advances.
“Sexual harassment was a constant reality,” said Roman Barrett, an assistant to Testino in the late 1990s who said the photographer rubbed up against his leg with an erection and masturbated in front of him.
Several industries have been rocked by sexual-abuse allegations since women started coming forward to complain about Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who has apologized for causing colleagues “a lot of pain” but has denied “any allegations of non-consensual sex.”
Revelations of abuse often have faded away in the fashion industry. Recently, photographer Terry Richardson continued to work after being accused in a documentary of sexual assault of female models and denying their claims — until the Weinstein scandal broke.
Conde Nast, which publishes Vogue and other top magazines, said it would stop working with Testino, at least for now.

(With AP)


Zayan the Label unveils summer and Ramadan lines fit for a princess

Updated 23 May 2018
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Zayan the Label unveils summer and Ramadan lines fit for a princess

  • The Ciao Maharani collection was inspired by Princess Gayatri Devi, the last maharani of Jaipur
  • The label also launched a special line of kaftans for Ramadan

DUBAI: Dubai-based Zayan Ghandour is widely known as the fashion-forward woman behind hugely successful concept store S*uce, which boasts incredibly offbeat designs by regional and international designers in stores across the UAE.
Ghandour launched her own quirky, feminine brand, Zayan the Label, at Paris Fashion Week in 2011 and has now unveiled a Spring/Summer 2018 collection that is perfect for the month of Ramadan, as well as a line of kaftans.
Titled the “Ciao Maharani” collection, the delightful summer line was inspired by Princess Gayatri Devi, the last maharani of Jaipur, the capital of India’s Rajasthan state famous for its reddish pink buildings.
The collection is marked by tiered dresses embroidered with Indian floral folklore motifs, vibrant brocades with contemporary jersey rib details, deliciously bright color block dresses with ruffled halter-necks and detachable off-shoulder sleeves, as well as dresses, tops and bottoms.

#ss18collection #ramadancapsulecollection

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The line is ideal for iftar and suhoor gatherings due to the loose fit and summery shades of some of the pieces — there are even oh-so-comfy sweatpants embroidered with various motifs. Starched, Santorni-esque whites, vibrant reds, yellows and blues all work together to result in a collection that is at once stylish, smile-inducing and fun.
The label is known for its quirks and this line is no different, with one cold shoulder sweatshirt embroidered with the words “Garam Masala” — a fiery, spicy staple in Indian cooking. Although the thought of wearing a sweatshirt in the Gulf heat is rather off-putting, perhaps label lovers could save this piece for their inevitable trip to cooler climes this summer.

#garammasala #ciaomaharani #SS18

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Ghandour also released a similar line of Ramadan kaftans, which echo the colors, styles and motifs that appear in her Ciao Maharani collection.

Fuschia for Ramadan

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Inspired by a legendary style icon in India, it is refreshing that Ghandour chose to turn to the subcontinent to fuel her latest collection.
Described as “one of India’s most elegant, independent and modern maharanis,” by the India Today newspaper, Devi was the third maharani consort of Jaipur from 1940 to 1949, through her marriage to Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II.
She was born on May 23, 1919, in London and married her husband in May 1940. Despite the relative ease with which she could have chosen to live a life of leisure, Devi chose to opt for a stint in politics and won a seat in the Indian Parliament in 1962. She held the seat from 1967-1971 as a member of the Swatantra Party and was an avid equestrienne and polo player to boot.

Known for her fondness for cars, Devi also reportedly imported the first Mercedes-Benz W126 to India and owned a bevy of Rolls-Royces and an aircraft, according to India Today.

With all these achievements under her belt — or tucked neatly into her sari — it is perhaps no wonder that the Lebanese trendsetting designer chose to draw inspiration from the Indian princess.

The collection is available across S*uce stores in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the standalone Zayan the Label store in Dubai and via international stockists. To peruse the collection online, visit zayanthelabel.com.