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The Looker: Hard Hats and Shoe Hazards at Our Construction Site Fashion Shoot

 Behind the scenes of the September issue.

 

Model Brittany Nash at the San Francisco General Hospital and pre-shoot at the Bay Bridge.

San Francisco is having an architectural moment, from the mid-Market office explosion to buzzy retail arrivals (City Target, Uniqlo) to ambitious cultural additions like the SFJazz Center and A.C.T.'s Strand Theatre revival. For San Francisco's upcoming September issue we harnessed that rebuilding as inspiration for our fashion editorial, shooting at construction sites for three future city institutions: the acute care building at San Francisco General Hospital, which will nearly triple the size of its emergency department; the new seismically advanced 2.2-mile span of the Bay Bridge, currently being built from Oakland to Yerba Buena Island; and the waterfront relocation of the Exploratorium museum to the stunning Pier 15.

Unloading a van full of designer garb into a working construction site presents it's own set of challenges. I spent much the two-day shoot diving to the ground in an attempt to save a dainty stiletto from a pile of gravel or running into the frame to angle a protruding, rusty wire away from a wispy swath of designer lace. We left the primping to model Brittany Nash, handed over our waivers, and donned hard hats, neon vests, flat boots (admittedly, my flattest pair had a hidden wedge), and safety goggles. At SFGH, she dodged stray blowtorch sparks and clamored over piles of rebar with admirable grace, despite 4-inch metallic cap-toe heels and a curve-hugging Zac Posen skirt. At the Bay Bridge, she dangled courageously from a crane in a décolleté number from Donna Karan's fall collection, causing a site-wide halt in constriction while crew members grappled for their cell phone cameras. And at the Exploratorium site, she perched, bird-like, atop an unfinished pedestrian bridge (the future site of the Color of Water exhibit) in a feathered Michael Kors frock. 

Check out the final product, "Look to the Future," here and in this month's issue, on stands now.