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On Location with Minnie Muse

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Bergdorf Goodman, a name synonymous with luxury in New York City, is celebrating BIG since being the leader in retail for 111 years. The already much-anticipated September Magazine has outdone itself this year with a fashion editorial devoted to their 111th anniversary.  In honor of such an event, Bergdorf called upon today’s top fashion houses to produce limited-edition designs to be sold exclusively at Bergdorf Goodman in the fall. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek back in May of what is to come in their 2012 September Magazine celebrating 111 Years of Extraordinary.

The secret 111 shoot took place over the course of five days at Dune Studios in the West Village. Photographers Luciana & Franco transformed the space each day with a fresh set (dreamed up by Bergdorf VP and Creative Director Aidan Kemp), a new top model and, most importantly, Bergdorf Goodman-exclusive apparel. I visited the set on the fifth and final day of shooting when model Karmen Pedaru was transformed into an Irving Penn goddess outfitted in exclusive looks from Etro, Burberry Prorsum, Missoni, Loro Piana, Moncler and Carolina Herrera.  After already having photographed models Liu Wen, Kasia Struss, Guinevere Van Seenus, Joan Smalls and Saskia de Brauw in front of elaborate sets – a detailed interior, the New York skyline and matte, silver fireworks – Luciana & Franco found a simple, painted backdrop the perfect contrast to earlier shots. Each set evoked a different mood and for the final day they were looking for classic, untouched beauty.

Go behind the scenes of the 111 shoot

The studio was not only overflowing with one-of-a-kind garments, but the most high-end pieces in the world of jewelry and accessory design. Shoes from Alaia to Valentino lined the perimeter of the changing area while pricey baubles were neatly arranged on a black blanket and shining bright with the hopes of being chosen for a look. The hair and makeup team was on hand for touchups every few shots while Karmen transformed in front of the camera as an eclectic mix of music from The Velvet Underground and Sonic Youth to Blondie and Cyndi Lauper played throughout the studio. No detail was spared on lunch and mid-day we all gathered, family-style, at the 20+-person dining table to feast. The final looks shot in the latter part of the day were by Moncler, Etro and Missoni.  Karmen stood tall in towering heels until the shoot wrapped and then wasted no time returning her feet to her trusty slippers. After five days of hard work both relief and excitement filled the studio. Each photograph highlights the glamour that Bergdorf Goodman instills in every designer, making for the perfect magazine insert to celebrate 111 years of ruling retail.


Just a few days later the 5F shoot, Marching Orders, was held at MK Studio, an equally nondescript space located in the midst of China Town. This time around, the clothing racks were filled with primarily New York-based designers and models Katryn Kruger and Bambi Northwood-Blyth got the chance to sport some of the most coveted pieces shown on the Fall 2012 runways. Creative director Jesper opted for offbeat props as the featured accessories while the hair and makeup team styled four very distinct looks to direct the mood of the shoot each day.

Bambi, who once wrote a guide to chewing gum, brought her quirky personality to the set posing effortlessly for photographer Marcelo Krasilicic with geometric pillows and musical instruments. For the first of Bambi’s two-day shoot she sported separates by 3.1 Phillip Lim and Pierre Balmain along with perfectly tousled hair and minimal makeup. Throwback tracks by Madonna, Billy Idol and Christina Aguilera added to the relaxed, playful atmosphere and between shots crewmembers took part in the pillow party.  For day two, Bambi’s hair and makeup were old Hollywood-inspired and the array of brass instruments as props were the perfect contrast to her ladylike outfits. Though the music in the studio had mellowed the energy was still strong. The crew had fun playing around with hair and makeup until each looked wrapped and it was time to see the photographs. At once, everyone huddled around the computer to reflect back and discuss an early favorite shot. As soon as it was agreed that they had captured something special, it was immediately on to the next.

See more from September Magazine