Bettina's Take: El Museo's 2011 Gala

Kate Winslet Mario Testino

How can you guarantee a glamorous evening, filled with movie stars, models, and the ne plus ultra of the fashion world? By honoring the legendary Mario Testino.

On May 26, El Museo del Barrio, New York's leading Latino museum, did just that, with a glorious black tie gala honoring the Peruvian-born photographer.

Kate Winslet, Josh Hartnett, Anna Wintour, Courtney Love, Hamish Bowles, Carine Roitfeld, and Donatella Versace all came to pay homage.

When I asked Testino, known for his stunning portraits, which one was his favorite, he said it was too difficult to choose.

"It's almost like a parent that has children," he explained.

I asked for his top five. "Kate Moss has been one of my favorites for a long time. I've worked a lot with her and I've managed to document her through the 20 years that we worked together. But there are many people like that: Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Demi Moore, and many more," he said.

What's next for Testino? "I'd love to find a way where I give back to my country or to my adopted country."


Hamish Bowles  Anna Wintour

Nicole Miller wore a long, beautiful black Givenchy. "The funny thing is, last time I came to this event I wore a John Galliano dress and it said 'Nicole Miller in her own design.' So I want to see if they say this is my own design or if they recognize it as Givenchy," Miller said with a chuckle.

It took a while to tear people away from the bellinis and plantains, but guests were finally seated. Winslet, in a black and white Narciso Rodriguez dress, presented El Museo's Lifetime Achievement Award to Testino.

"How is it possible to sum up this brilliant man who has enormous personality in just a few words?" asked Winslet. "We know that he will talk us into doing absolutely anything. Why? Because we trust him. Mario sees people the way they really are."

Gala chair Yaz Hernandez, also in Narciso Rodriguez, was making sure everyone was having a great time.

"El Museo is the most important Latin American museum in New York, and as you know, Latin American art is one of my passions," said Hernandez. "I embraced Latin art and El Museo when I met my dear husband Valentin, who’s a Latin American art connoisseur and collector. In addition to its critically praised exhibitions, El Museo also does amazing work providing brilliant educational programs to students from all over the city."

Very few speeches, a terrific Latin band, and a DJ kept the energy high, guaranteeing the evening would last well into the night.

Photos: Kate Winslet and Mario Testino (top left), Hamish Bowles and Anna Wintour (bottom right)