They say you know you've hit the really big time when Mario Testino takes your picture. Credited with doing more to immortalise Diana, Princess of Wales, than any other photographer, his images of the world's most glamorous men and women have made his the most sought-after eye in the world.
The list of stars who request his camera skills – Madonna, Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston among them– grows by the day. Yet not all are granted his seal of approval. Two in particular have rather irked the suave Peruvian, drawing scorn for their "naff" behaviour and vulgar poses. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they're both men, and they're both British.
In an exclusive interview with today's Independent Magazine, Testino takes exception to Robbie Williams and David Beckham, deriding them as lacking the instinctive appeal and discretion most of his other subjects have. He recalls Williams' determination to remain naked throughout a day-long shoot in 2000. The mercurial pop star ought, Testino says, to have remained a little "more discreet".
"I have to say, when I photographed Robbie with Gisele Bundchen for the cover of British Vogue, he was naked the entire day, occasionally covering his private parts," said Testino. "I don't do men very often. I do mainly women, that's my line of business. Maybe a man in that situation, it's a bit... naff.
"I'd much prefer a girl being sexy for the camera. A man should be more... discreet. You see a girl in a skirt with her legs in the air – but men shouldn't be showing their legs everywhere."
Testino reveals that the same lack of grace applies to the former England football captain. "I'm not a prude," he says. "But there's a billboard at the moment showing David Beckham in his underwear, with his balls hanging out. Personally, I don't find that attractive in a man." The billboard Testino is referring to is Beckham's adornment of the latest underwear advertising campaign by Giorgio Armani.
Speaking as his work is showcased at an exhibition of Vanity Fair's most celebrated portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, Testino does, however, reveal a special adoration for two celebrities. After describing Liz Hurley's "unbelievable body" as "like a South American girl", he goes on to say of Kate Moss: "You can put anything on her face and she still looks great."
He says he adores "her taste, style, humour and kindness" and adds: "She makes your day really worth it."