Behind the Scenes of the Men’s Fashion Shoot Starring James Whitten

Sweet Baby James models the best in spring fashion for the boys.



I have a great job. I live and breathe fashion and I relish the days of hammering out ideas for our editorials with our creative team then plugging away all the details. Shoot days are the best as everyone collaborates for the final result — we play hard and laugh alot as well as work hard too. On this day our crew included Larry Kuzniewski, Sara Harrison, Christopher Padgett, and Lucy Hadskey. I have to say, the pinnacle experience of any photo shoot is working on an editorial dedicated to the boys and hanging out with super fun male models. They bring a whole different energy to the set and it is so refreshing for me to scout men’s clothing. I love everything about gentlemen’s threads — the tailoring, the fabrics, and the masculinity of all of the looks. I adore men’s shoes, hats, glasses, pocket squares ... all of it. I grew up with very stylish men in my life. My dad is a doctor and he always dressed sharp albeit covered up with a lab coat and accessorized with his stethoscope. I remember being a little girl and playing in his closet, surrounding myself in his tweed sports coats and dozens of corduroy and linen pants, and always trying to walk around in his scores of Italian loafers (not unlike a little girl trying to walk in her mother’s high heels, which I did also). So, I guess it’s no surprise that pulling summer looks for the boys was great fun and we totally lucked out with our fantastic model from AMAX Talent in Nashville, James Whitten. 

We had access to the beautiful mid-century architectural gem, Memphis College of Art. The building itself is so masculine with its sharp angles and marble floors, commanding entrance staircase and expansive spaces. It really is such an incredible area and it was perfect for creating a setting for our model, whom we tricked out in a variety of looks ranging from nerdy art professor to straight up gorgeous post grad art student. We had the very best in spring clothing for men rolled up on garment racks along with tons of great hats and shoes that were exciting to visually ingest, let alone style a beautiful boy with. A denim blazer — what? Who would wear that? Linen shirt worn together with linen pants — huh? I don’t think those looks are very radical, but I do know most Southern gents prefer polos and button downs worn with pleated khakis ... and there’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s really OK for boys to be a little daring with their wardrobes and it was nice to show a few out of the box elements from Memphis stores. 

Shoot days are wild and this day was pretty crazy. It was unseasonably warm for early May (or was it?) and I was already sweating by 8 a.m. as I was unloading all of my magic tricks into the MCA Conference Room — our nerve center for the day. The madness behind the scenes never translates to the printed page and that’s okay — I want everything to look flawless and pulled together for the reader. James, our trusty model, drove in from Nashville to make our 9 a.m. call time. He was a vision of perfection with the Most Beautiful Skin on a boy I might have ever seen. He has just the right kind of eyebrows too and the most penetrating green eyes — he really is lindo. His best qualities are his smile and arresting personality — I know, gag, but it’s true. Christopher and I took him to lunch afterwards to Blues City Cafe on Beale to show off a more famous side of our hometown and he continued to win us over. We had a blast playing dress up with James and I think it shows in the final editorial. 

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