News & Runway

The Story Behind the Chanel Iman Shoot: Closed Set with Julie Bensman

In fashion, looks can often be deceiving. Runway shows that seem flawless from the front row are chaos backstage; effortless "bed head" hair took hours to get mussed waves just right; and seemingly perfect beach bodies oft receive a wee bit of help from Photoshop. As a producer, no matter how much I prepare ahead of time, day-of shoot glitches are unavoidable and sometimes uncontrollable. The biggest thorn in my side? The weather. Try as I might, I can't make it do what I want…go figure.

On a bright, sunny day last month, looks were definitely in the deceiving category: it was a frigid 25 degrees outside. We were shooting Chanel Iman OUTSIDE at Lincoln Center for an exclusive Fashion Week cover and cover story for Gotham. Perhaps the model master of deception, Chanel was a rock star, showcasing spring's best looks in temps low enough to make even this former Chicagoan shiver. Below, the cover story, and a few secrets behind the scenes:

Because the days are so short this time of year, I instituted a 5 AM call time to maximize sunlight access. Even worse than waking up in the dark at this ungodly hour? The temperature sinks into the single digits (but at that point, who's counting?)

To keep spirits high and body temps semi-normal, I elected myself personal Starbucks runner. Chanel's Chai Tea Lattes and the rest of the crew's orders added up to a nearly four-figure tab. A small price to pay for a gorgeous shoot, me thinks.

The stakes were high: Chanel's exclusive Lincoln Center issue of Gotham will be distributed in the tents this year for the entire fashion set to fancy. Don’t give us the cold shoulder, swing by this upcoming Fashion Week and pick up a copy for yourself…they’re bound to go quick!