When the team shooting J. Crew’s spring 2011 catalog set up at the Hollywood sign in early December to snap a leggy model wearing a pair of shiny gold shorts in front of the landmark, no one was expecting that the scene would turn into something out of "Law & Order: Los Angeles."
"A fireman walked into the shot, and all of a sudden over loudspeakers someone started yelling at us to leave because we were trespassing," said Ashley Price, a senior vice president at J. Crew who had been on set high up in the Hollywood Hills that day. The crew had secured a permit to shoot, and the reprimand was merely a miscommunication, but by chance a fireman in all his gear and a low-flying helicopter made it into a few of the shots. "You can’t get more L.A than that!" Price said.
The New York-based company known for its studio-set catalogs full of elegantly disheveled models and quirky tomboy styling, sought out the sunny backdrop of L.A to showcase its spring 2011 collection. To channel the era of Old Hollywood, actor Sam Page, from "Mad Men," was chosen to model the men’s collection, and locations such as the Chateau Marmont; the Downtown Palace Theatre; the Stahl House, by architect Pierre Koenig; the Paramount Studios back lot; and tree-lined North Hillcrest Road served as backdrops.
“We were inspired by the idea of Old Hollywood glamour and tying that into American classics, and we’ve been looking at L.A more for a point of view on glamour,” said Jenna Lyons, president and executive creative director of J. Crew. “We’re making things look a little more polished, things like the hair, makeup and styling. It’s definitely an over-arching theme for styling.”
Crew Cuts, J. Crew’s kids' collection was shot on the Paramount lot to utilize the whimsical sets and outrageous props. “There are those funny extremes you can have nowhere else but in L.A.,” Lyons said.
But the crew said perhaps the most Hollywood of all the locations was the Chateau Marmont. “Within an hour at the Chateau Marmont, we saw three celebrities,” Price said. “That felt very glamorous and very L.A."
The J. Crew Spring 2011 catalog will be out the end of January.
-- Melissa Magsaysay
Photo: A shot from the upcoming catalog. Credit: J. Crew