Behind the Scenes

by Karen Alberg Grossman

Since my main job is business writing and I have no real understanding of fashion (please don’t tell anyone…), it’s always intriguing for me to attend fashion shoots. This past Friday, I joined MR fashion director John Jones, Forum managing editor Robert Haynes-Peterson, photographer Alex Palumbo and model Blake Morris for what was supposed to be a simple and fast fashion shoot. Five hours later, let me assure you that I gained a whole new appreciation for what goes on behind the scenes.

Photographer Alex Palumbo with model Blake Morris:
both highly professional, they make it look easy!

The purpose of this particular shoot, which took place at Mitchells in Westport so we would have access to Dominick and his expert tailors, was to show one model in two different suits. The “before” suit was to be dated-looking from a few years ago (too baggy, too much shoulder, too much trouser) versus a more fitted suit from a fall ‘07 clothing collection (slim, sexy, hip, modern). Sounds simple but let me tell you—even with no hair and make-up involved—setting up, selecting the clothing and accessories, measuring, altering and ironing the suits and dress shirts, shooting outdoors in 90 degree heat (without breaking a sweat), reviewing the shots in real time, cleaning up and clearing out, all while trying not to disrupt traffic in the store, was anything but simple and fast. (I won’t even mention that John, Alex and Blake got lost on the ride up from Manhattan or that Blake was worried about catching a flight out of the city for the weekend….)

Robert and John: Waiting, and more waiting…

Still, all went amazingly well. Bobby Mitchell, who conceived the shoot, selected a fabulous Dolce & Gabbana suit for the “after” shot. Blake loved it (and wanted to keep it, as well as the Prada shoes, Zegna shirt, Cartier Santos 100 watch and pink Hermes tie that he wore with it…) His genuine appreciation for the fashion helped the whole thing work, as did the expertise of the Mitchells’ staff and the teamwork among John, Robert, Alex and Blake.

As for me, I ran out and got the sandwiches. Who says I wasn’t needed on the set?

Alex and Robert: Schlepping, and more schlepping…