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04.17.2014

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January 14, 2010 11:58 AM

Fashion

Fresh Air Fun: Lingerie in January

Photographing lingerie on the beach doesn't seem like too novel an idea, but when the shoot is in January at Coney Island in Brooklyn, it must be the original, if slightly mad, brainchild of the WWD fashion staff. We feared...

Photographing lingerie on the beach doesn't seem like too novel an idea, but when the shoot is in January at Coney Island in Brooklyn, it must be the original, if slightly mad, brainchild of the WWD fashion staff. We feared for our poor model, Caitlin Lyon, who would be wearing some pretty skimpy underwear (granted, under loads of layers) in 25 degree weather -- probably 5 degree with the wind chill -- to be featured in our biannual Intimates Magazine. So we went on a hunt for heaters that would function on the beach. After a long and arduous search -- we weren't allowed to use propane and electric heaters could not generate enough heat and would require a 100-plus pound generator to be lugged onto the sand. Any form of heat within a tent was considered a fire hazard. We wound up with a small tent that did nothing more than block the wind. When we arrived at Coney Island, the vacant amusement park felt like a veritable ghost town, containing only the skeletal remains of the Cyclone and Wonder Wheel. Wind currents off the Atlantic swept through the tower of an abandoned observatory, creating an unearthly howl. The beach itself looked beautiful with the sun sparkling off the glassy water. If it weren't for the icy wind and the lack of swimsuit-clad beachgoers, it could have passed for a summer day.

Technical difficulty delayed our tent, but neither that nor the frigid temperature discouraged this team. Bobbi Queen conjured Bedouin tribes from the Saharan desert with a palette of rich bohemian neutrals and vivid pops of color. Then photographer Kyle Ericksen produced a selection of drawings by Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt illustrating young women in repose. She directed our model to mimic the artists' linear poses on plush blankets spread out on the sand.

Lyon was a trouper who, even with her layers upon layers and hand warmers stuck in every pocket, was no match for the weather. A crowd of bundled and bewildered onlookers assembled on the boardwalk, watching in awe as she braved the elements.

On the afternoon of the second day, Queen purloined a bread roll from the crew's lunch and, in hopes of luring a few seagulls into the shot, proceeded to toss the scraps towards the birds.

Soon the air was thick with swooping gulls. Other than a few nervous laughs, Lyon kept her cool and smiled calmly while the flock enveloped her.

As the daylight waned, we positioned Lyon against a 3-D cardboard palm tree -- a nod to the absurdity of the shoot. For our last photo of the day, the setting sun and orange and yellow-lit clouds cast a pink glow across the sand. Ericksen and Lyon, backlit by the sunset, ran off toward the pier, stirring up the seagulls resting on the sand. We were all happy to return to the warmth of the location van and head back to Manhattan.


-with contributions from Eaddy Kiernan
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