Last December, photographer Vincent Dilio and I went to Instinct's motherland, sunny and beautiful Los Angeles, to shoot three of our Spring 2012 fashion editorials. It was a quick four-day trip but a welcome change to the chilly northeast weather of New York (at least New York then, not the summer-y N.Y. of late). My trip there was a comedy of errors that started with a cab ride to the wrong airport, then continued with an additional trip to the correct airport and a brisk shoeless sprint to my gate from security as they called my name over the loud speaker for final boarding. Once I finally sat back in my seat for the flight ahead, looking out the window enjoying my Bloody Mary, I wondered if my three giant duffle bags and rolling suitcase filled to the brim with designer clothing, shoes and accessories would meet me on the other end.
To my relief everything was waiting for me on the baggage carrousel when I arrived and I loaded up my rental car for the days ahead.
Our first shoot day, we met by the Santa Monica Pier at the outdoor beachside gym, home of the original Muscle Beach. We spent the day doing chin ups, dips and leg lifts with models Tyler, Anthony and Darius for our February swimwear story, “Beach Boys.”
Outfitted in designs by Y-3, Jeremy Scott and Marc by Marc Jacobs (to name a few), the boys joked around throughout the day and attempted things like the hanging T on the rings, where your arms are extended straight out from your shoulders holding yourself upright. I spent the day spotting them and making sure their swim trunks looked good. It was a difficult task...but somehow I managed.
We drove early the next day to east Los Angeles for April's editorial, "Escape from L.A." The gritty warehouse back alleys, truck depots and train tracks were the perfect backdrop for the leather jackets and motorcycle-inspired gear I had planned to shoot. It was a quiet Sunday with only a few big rigs passing by and the occasional pedestrian here and there, mistaking our makeshift side-of-the-road "dressing room" for a tag sale.
It was so desolate that I was completely caught by surprise when a L.A. squad car drove up as I was changing our model Will behind the open trunk of my rental car in one of the nearby alleyways. Will was in his underwear when the cop arrived. "This can't possibly look good," I thought to myself and instructed Will to quickly put pants on as I braced for the worst. Luckily, the police officer had run into my assistant at our base camp several blocks away (he stopped to close down what he assumed was her illegal sidewalk shop). She laughed, explained what was actually happening and told him where he could find us. The officer pulled to a stop, rolled down his window, and asked us if we were the photo shoot. We all nodded, dumbstruck. He chuckled, wished us a good shoot and happy holidays and drove off. "Happy Holidays!" we called out with a sigh of relief.
For our May editorial, we drove north to Malibu to shoot on the cliffs of Point Dume with California native and super hunk Brandon MacKay. The day was surreal. The weather was warm and sunny without a cloud in the sky. We hiked along the beach and over rocky embankments until we found a secluded inlet with soaring cliffs and set to work.
With such a hot model, and weather to beat the band, it hardly felt like "work." The day was so perfect, in fact, a school of dolphins swam within several yards of the coastline and frolicked in the surf for a bit before traveling further out. We even finished the shoot early and, after some celebratory cocktails and snacks, I flew back home to New York.
Until next time, Los Angeles. I'll miss you!