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BIG hair, bold make-up and piles of bling: 80s stars revealed in all their gaudy glory in book celebrating snapper Mario Casilli

Playboy's Mario, from Ohio, shot 80s stars as well as Playmates

New self-titled book features cast shots of 80's most famous TV shows

Musicians and movie stars also feature in £29.95 coffee-table read

It was the decade of Dynasty, Dallas, shoulder pads and excess in all forms. Big was beautiful, greed was good, and beauty was bold.

Popular television series', films and music reflected the 1980s trend for beautiful people living extraordinary lives.

And cult photographer Mario Casilli captured those mesmerising subjects at their best, defining forever the look of 80s pop culture through his soft focus lens.

Joan Collins is the cover star of a new book dedicated to 1980s photographer Mario Casilli. She writes in the forword: 'Mario captured absolute glamour'. Stars like Joan Collins adored him for making them look fabulous, and his amazing photography is now immortalised in a spectacular coffee table book.

Joan, now 80, even wrote the foreword for the tome: 'I don't think any photographer today has managed to capture a decade in the way that Mario captured the absolute glamour and decadence in his 1980s photographs.'

As a young photographer working for Paul Hesse at his legendary Sunset Strip photographic studios, Mario Casilli mixed with the biggest names in Hollywood. His ease with high profile subjects and beautiful women would come to define his career.

Between 1957 and 1981 Casilli became one of the most prolific photographers for Playboy magazine, shooting no fewer than 57 Playmates, countless other pictorials and several covers.

He even persuaded Barbara Streisand to pose in her underwear.

The lensman was given key card #2 to Playboy's legendary chain of clubs; #1 being reserved for the magazine's boss, Hugh Hefner.

During the 1980s Casilli began shooting the most high profile TV and music stars in America, capturing the excess, the glamour and decadence of the decade through its most flamboyant household names.

The biggest shows on TV were to define the decade. Shows making the cover of TV Guide would likely gain 3 or 4 ratings points so portraits of the stars were big business. Casilli turned them into an art form and his soft focus, high-gloss vision would come to embody the 1980s American dream.

From Moonlighting, Miami Vice, Knight Rider and Baywatch to Fresno and The Golden Girls, the master photographer turned his lens to popular culture and redefined it.

Casilli's style was also a natural fit for rock and pop stars of the 1980 and the greatest musicians in the world queued up to be his subjects, including Lionel Richie, Dolly Parton and the Bee Gees.

Mario passed away in 2001 at the age of 71. Now his work is being published as a collection for the first time by Reel Art Press. 

To see full article and images, click here.

Daily Mail

12 Nov, 2013

Deni Kirkova