Have you ever wondered what really goes down on an underwear shoot?
I’m Katherine Clark, a young creative working at Glue Store, and I’m here to take you through all the ins and outs of our latest Calvin Klein underwear shoot!
The day I found out we were going to be shooting CK underwear, I had an inner “I love my job” moment to myself. The team and I were super stoked to take on this project - but none of us had ever shot an underwear campaign before.
In the lead-up to the shoot, there was a lot of preparation and research to be done. Our stylist came up with the creative concept, which gave us direction. I work with a team of talented and experienced stylists, creatives and content producers, so we put together a plan of execution and everything came together quite quickly.
There were lots of things we knew we’d have to get right, but one thing that we were most nervous about was ensuring our shots weren’t too revealing for either of our models.
When some people picture an underwear shoot, they think of oiled up, chiselled abs accompanied by greasy, shimmery limbs and a lot of seductive posing. And that couldn’t be further from the aesthetic we wanted to achieve for Glue Store and Calvin Klein.
Glue Store is all about the Aussie youth of today embracing all things streetwear and trend related. So for this shoot we wanted to strip back (literally) and go for an everyday “chilling in your undies at home” look.
The first thing we had to do was find two models that would fit the brief of a cool young couple. After reviewing the options, we booked Sydney-based beauty Casey La Chiusa, who we’ve shot previously for Calvin Klein Jeans.
Finding a suitable male model was a little harder. We needed a guy who would complement Casey’s looks, and we also wanted him to fit the Calvin Klein brand – but with a laid-back Aussie twist. We finally struck gold with Seth Turnbull, whose guy-next-door looks and toned physique were perfect.
With our models locked in, we needed to find an equally perfect location. We wanted somewhere that felt modern, and fit with both CK and Glue Store's individual aesthetics.
The perfect set came to us in the way of a top-floor Vaucluse apartment that a friend of our stylist lived in. The space had a “New York loft” vibe, with a beautiful colour palette of bright whites and natural hues – the perfect back drop for Calvin Klein’s monochromatic underwear. The apartment owner had a real eye for décor, and the place looked like something straight out of an interiors magazine.
Everything was coming together, but we still weren’t any further along with our task of finding a way to ensure our photos – particularly the ones of Seth in his undies – would remain tasteful and not too vulgar.
The solution came to us via a trick of the trade within the underwear industry that we’d never heard of. So from us to you, here’s an insider secret: Male models use a slice of bread down their jocks to ensure everything has a smooth, rounded finish.
Sausage sandwich jokes aside, we bought a whole loaf of bread and we were ready to give it a go. We had nothing to lose!
On the day of the shoot, we were all so excited to get out of the studio and on to location. We left from our production studio in two cars. Our model Casey, our photographer James Ambrose and our stylist Ashleigh Gratsounas left in one car. I was in the second car with the rowdy bunch – Our model Seth, our manager Alex Elsey, and Soph Brennan our creative content producer.
Seth called shotgun on the front seat, so that meant he also volunteered himself as the DJ for the trip. It wasn’t until we’d finished fiddling with the AUX cord that I realised that I didn't have the address for the apartment! I looked around, but the team in the first car had already hit the road. Great.
I started driving towards the suburb where I knew the apartment was located, and Soph eventually got through to somebody in the other car to get the address. But still no sign of them on the road.
Seth our model/DJ/navigator informed me we were 5 mins away, and we still hadn’t caught up with the others. Inside, I was praying that we weren’t holding up the shoot by arriving late!
It wasn’t until we reached the suburb of Vaucluse that I heard a loud, long blast of a horn coming from the car behind me. Before I let my inner road rage escape through my mouth, I looked in the rear vision mirror and see James’ smiling face staring back at me.
Hah! We beat em’!! Kat: 1 James: 0
We arrive at our destination minutes later. There was ample parking, which is something you don’t come across every day in Sydney! I did however still manage to hit the curb despite the football field of space I had behind me to park.
The team unloaded the cars and headed towards the apartment block. We locked eyes with a few magpies as we crossed the street, and it only took one person to remind us that it’s swooping season to get all the girls freaking out. Everyone started doing some strange one handed, open palm, upward fanning action above their heads as birds dipped and dived around us. We managed to escape magpie territory unscathed and made it up to the apartment block.
As we entered the apartment we were greeted by the lovely owner, who welcomed us into her home. With eager eyes, we all scanned the apartment as we walked in.
The rich musical tones of New Orleans Blues wafted through the space, along with a faint homely aroma of tobacco and vanilla.
With little time to spare, our models stripped off in the adjacent kitchen and we all got to work.
Both models had bookings straight after our shoot, so we only had 2 hours to make the magic happen. We knew what shots we needed, but we weren’t sure if we had enough time to get the wide variety we wanted.
I don’t imagine snuggling up to a perfect stranger on a couch in a strange house, wearing nothing but knickers, would be very enjoyable. However, Casey and Seth were relaxed and professional, and this came across perfectly in our shots. They powered through every pose, and didn’t complain when we asked them to contort into uncomfortable positions for that perfect frame.
Underwear is something we all wear every day, but for some reason there’s an awkward stigma attached to the thought of stripping down to your jocks. Our team rose above the awkwardness and got right into it. Ash and James directed the shoot with aplomb, and it was incredible watching our vision come to life. And, as it turns out, underwear actually makes for great banter.
At one point, Seth was given a well-earned break so the photographer could get some solo shots of Casey. Noticing the cool breeze blowing from the balcony, I handed Seth a fluffy blanket to keep warm while he waited to be called back on to set. When James asked Seth to come back, Seth took off the blanket and unveiled the brand new black CK undies COVERED in white fluff.
We're fully prepared for situations like this back at the studio, but we quickly realised that we had forgotten to pack the lint roller when we set out this morning!
Being responsible for the fluff-astrophe, I was nominated as the official fluff remover. As I went to work, trying to respectfully remove bright white puffy clouds of fluff from Seth’s jet black jocks, everyone whipped out their phones to snap off photos of my embarrassing gaffe.
Thankfully, the rest of the shoot continued without a hitch. We got every shot we needed, and the models were able to leave on time for their next job.
From sausage sandwiches to bum fluff, now you know all the little things that go into producing the flawless underwear shots that adorn billboards and magazines around the world!
Words: Katherine Clark as told to Alexander Elsey | Photography: James Ambrose | Models: Seth Turnbull + Casey La Chiusa | Styling: Ashleigh Gratsounas
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