Photography: Bradly Tomberlin
Photography: Bradly Tomberlin

Take a sneak peek at our upcoming spring fashion feature from a different perspective.

Spring fashion is my favorite annual issue. My office is overtaken by feathered straw hats, romantic floral prints, colorful beadwork, intricate embroidery — and more turquoise than a girl could ever hope for. There’s nothing quite like opening a box, addressed to me, to find a massive Royston squash blossom or a vintage Navajo concho belt inset with some 80 Sleeping Beauty stones.

It’s a busy issue. It demands long hours cataloging hundreds of submissions that then have to be pieced together as a cohesive collection. For me, though, it never gets old. I find myself just as excited as I was the first time, six years ago, helping out as a newly hired assistant editor on a snowy spring shoot in Mineral Wells, Texas.

But this particular one was especially meaningful for me because we shot it at my husband’s family hay farm in Sulphur Springs. Star­gate Farm is my father-in-law Mar­vin’s latest business venture, where he grows Tifton 85 and Coastal Bermuda horse and cattle hay. But to me and my husband, Brian, it’s simply a place to get away, where we can shoot skeet, fish, play with our nieces and nephew, and give our own baby (a spoiled 2-year-old lab named Jack) a chance to roam free. It has become our family’s favorite place to spend time together. So when the editorial team agreed it would be the perfect backdrop for the spring fashion shoot, I couldn’t wait to share it with them.

My mother-in-law, Becky, invited the C&I girls to stay the night before so we didn’t have to make the hour-plus drive from Dallas at the crack of dawn on the day of the shoot. When we arrived, we unpacked the cars and began lining the upstairs guest quarters with clothing racks and jewelry trays. Then it was off to Walmart for food and rubber boots. (The previous week’s heavy rain had left the hay fields nice and squishy.)

I was nervous about getting through 10 shots in one day, in a race against the setting sun. But everyone pitched in. Marvin’s business partner, Jonah, and my husband showed up to help, too. While Jonah moved the large round bales (each of which literally weighs a ton) from the barns to the fields, Brian hauled out the old 1954 Dodge pickup his dad restored years ago to be used as a prop. It was a busy day of ATV rides carting models to and from the house with boots in hand as to not get them muddy in the fields. But in the end, we got the shots. And they turned out beautifully.

Here's a special look behind the scenes of what goes on during a C&I fashion shoot.

Check out the spring fashion feature from the April 2016 issue.