It’s hard to find a quotidian activity, event or scenario that hasn’t already been touched, and then fancified, by a fashion photographer or a creative director. There’s Arthur Elgort in a grocery store’s parking lot with Kate Moss, Steven Meisel in a racquetball court or at a bus stop, Peter Lindbergh walking dogs with Naomi Campbell, Bruce Weber on a camping trip with Kate and a bottle of insect repellent. There’s Zoe Ghertner in a tire yard with a Chanel bowler hat or in Proenza on a trampoline, Venetia Scott shooting hoops with Lindsey Wixson, Elaine Constantine at a child’s birthday party, Will Davidson with Camilla Deterre at the dry cleaner’s, and you know, Leandra Medine Cohen with Svetlana foam-rolling in Prada

Is there any uncharted territory left? Any terrestrial space where fashion photography can make the everyday glamorous, posh, fantastical, in a new way?

…Which led me to this very question: Where in the name of good blouses and big earrings are the pie eating contests?

Three summers ago, from the humble grandstand of Maine’s Blue Hill Fair (the same fair that inspired Charlotte’s Web and Zuckerman’s famous pig, Wilbur), I watched the Wild Blueberry Pie Eating Contest. When a winner was declared, all the contestants lifted their faces caked in blueberry slime — a beautiful sight in its absurdity. They looked like they were in need of a buttermilk bath, the kind Wilbur used to get before showtime. And they knew it. The moment lasted a split-second before each contestant lunged in the direction of the nearest paper towel roll. And with that snapshot caught before my eyes, an idea began to brew in my head.

I attended several other pie eating contests for “research,” elbowing my way to the front of the crowd with a camera in hand, square in the sun. As a reputation developed for my bizarre preoccupation, friends and family knew where they could find me should I go MIA on the fairgrounds or at Fourth of July festivities.

This brings us to the Man Repeller Pie Eating Contest. I’ll set the scene:

Lara is wearing a Rosie Assoulin camisole and Alighieri gold necklace and earrings with a Lemon Meringue pie from Petee’s Pies

In the first few moments of the contest, our characters’ names are picked at random from a hat. (Some brave sports volunteered themselves, while others fell victim to prankster pals who offered them up unknowingly.) Lined up at a folding table, shoulder to shoulder, the contestants scope out their competition. They’re wearing four alternatives to that ubiquitous off-the-shoulder blouse, plus one polo shirt if you shop in the men’s section. Further down the line, there are a couple white button-downs in the mix  practical enough for the task at hand.

At the sound of a whistle blow, they dive in with hands behind their backs. Now that’s good form.

One of our fiercest contestants, Janelle, digs right into Four and Twenty Blackbirds’ Strawberry Balsamic pie, then comes up for air: “Feels like pressing your face in mud.”

Janelle is wearing a Boden linen shirt and Alighieri gold bracelet with a Four and Twenty Blackbirds Strawberry Balsamic pie

Photography, Creative Direction & Casting: Edith Young
Styling: Harling Ross
Styling and Market Assistant: Elizabeth Tamkin
Production: Emily Zirimis, Louisiana Mei Gelpi & Ana Tellez
Makeup: Allie Smith & Regard Tang 
Models: Lara Helmer and Sophie Debacker of Heroes Models, Makala Johnson and Janelle Franklin of Wilhelmina, Matthew Logos & Elizabeth McAvoy
Pies courtesy of: Petee’s PiePies ‘n’ ThighsFour and Twenty Blackbirds, and Butter & Scotch

Get more Fashion ?
  • Hayley

    FANTASTIC!

  • Haley Scott

    YESSSSSS this is everything.

  • a male model! in a polo shirt that matches the tablecloth! amazing!

    • Elizabeth Tamkin

      When he sat down my heart beamed realizing that the two patterns went together FLAWLESSLY

  • Lulu

    this is AMAZING!

  • Harling Ross

    I LOVE THIS SO SO SO MUCH EDITH.

    • Edith

      Hi Harling you styled it to perfection

  • Teresa
    • Edith

      How did you know that Bruce Bogtrotter is my muse above all muses?

      • Andrea Raymer

        I almost just made a reference to his namesake song from Matilda the Musical, but then I remembered that not everyone is a broadway nerd and most people wouldn’t get that reference.

      • Teresa

        Still unsure why eating an entire chocolate cake is considered “punishment” 😂

  • Andrea Raymer

    this shoot is my summer aesthetic.

    Also, I really need pie. Does everyone else agree that pie is a breakfast food?

    • Natty

      I’ve never needed pie so badly in my life

  • Ana Tellez

    Edith will you adopt me

    • Edith

      I already signed the papers

    • Emily Zirimis

      Already in the works!

  • Edith can do no wrong! Next up: hotdogs, I hope!

  • Maren Douglas

    Amazing. All of it

  • Hilary

    YES YES YES YES instantly iconic. I really admire your work, Edith, and it just keeps getting better

  • Amelia Diamond

    IF THIS IS WHAT LOVE FEELS LIKE THEN BABY I AM IN IT

  • Dale Chong

    Edith. Please teach me your ways.

    I am in love with this concept, these photos, and everything that came in between. Just pinned a bunch for my own inspiration. I’d love to see more of this from you!!

  • Megan

    this is sooooo lovely and Lara is doing such a good job at wearing that pie!

  • this is fun idea! Would we need stain remover contest afterwards?

  • Emily

    Photo 7 is SO. GOOD. The intensity of his eyes and the absurdity of banana creme pie with gingham on gingham. Love it!

  • Rachel Dlugatch

    These photos are great but it hurts my soul a little bit to see such beautiful pies going to waste! :O

  • Meredith

    Best photo shoot ever.