Water World: Behind the scenes at FASHION’s aquatic photo shoot on the beaches of the Bahamas

Water world

Photographed by Adam Levett. Styled by Susie Sheffman.

Immerse yourself in maritime hues, oceanic prints and aquatic details.

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SEPTEMBER 2011 At the Versace show in Milan, I see mermaids, seahorses and shells, confirming what I already know from New York and London: Spring 2012 is all about water. OCTOBER Selects for my spring trend presentation include Mary Katrantzou’s deep-sea diving prints, Peter Pilotto’s scuba shapes and wave prints, and Givenchy’s shark-tooth pendant. NOVEMBER Design houses are alerted that we’ll want key looks to arrive during the first week of February. We decide to shoot in the Bahamas, on remote Cat Island. DECEMBER Fashion market editor Caitlan Moneta and our interns start requesting clothes, a process that will involve hundreds of emails and phone calls. I pull together a dream team that won’t freak out about the unpredictable demands of location shooting (Light! Rain! Heat! Bugs!), and cast our “Ariel,” a red-headed model with a body built for both runway and swimwear. Knowing I’ll be schlepping samples to and from airports and FedEx offices, I sign up for bootcamp at my gym. Fashion Television confirms they will shoot us behind the scenes. My one stipulation: absolutely NO footage of me in a bathing suit! LATE JANUARY Our photographer is in the hospital. Thankfully, another FASHION favourite, Adam Levett, is available. Lots of the clothes for another shoot we’re doing in Miami the week before the Bahamas trip are delayed, so we switch the order of the shoots. Caitlan frantically rebooks everyone’s flights. JANUARY 30 Bahamas’ weather is looking ominous, with dark clouds hovering only over our shoot dates. We find out we’ve lost some Mary Katrantzou and Paco Rabanne samples to awards-season red carpets—always a problem at this time of year. JANUARY 31 At the Albion Hotel, we rip open FedEx boxes. There’s glee over what we find—Versace, Peter Pilotto—and disappointment as the “sorry” emails come in: “Sorry, we had to send the Lanvin to L.A.” “Sorry, the Kara Ross got sent to your office in Toronto.” Still, we have more than enough for a spectacular water shoot. We start packing up our hockey bags. FEBRUARY 2 We arrive at Nassau airport. With all of the confusion and rebooked flights, there’s been an error, and we won’t make our connection to Cat Island. Unless we run like the wind…
—Susie Sheffman, Fashion Director

Photographed by Adam Levett. Styled by Susie Sheffman.

Hair and makeup by Nicolas Blanchet for Folio/ Tresemmé/NARS. Fashion assistant, Caitlan Moneta. Photographed on location at Fernandez Bay Village Resort, Cat Island. Special thanks to the Islands of the Bahamas. Behind the scenes written by Susie Sheffman, photography by Adam Levett and Christopher Levett