We were just unwinding from Europe Fashion Week when, lo and behold, Nina G. springs this on us: we're going to St. Barts in less than a week to shoot a swim story with Gilles Bensimon! Having a week's notice and thinking about the budget, my immediate reaction was: no freaking way will this be possible! I tend to be a little too negative and grumpy in the winter months, who doesn't. Then I thought, really if we can pull this off, how nice would it be to get away from the city and go somewhere as sweet as St. Barts.
Then I find out, it would be for one day! WHAT!!!! Are we really going to fly to the Caribbean for one day? C'mon. The cost alone wouldn't be worth it. Or so I hastily thought. Since Gilles and his team were already out there we just needed to book a model and a hair/mu person to fly out. So we booked our flights and started planning. I quickly became nervous because I realized we would have to fly into St. Maarten then take a small charter plane to St. Barts. The last time I was on a small charter I had such a major freak out I thought I would throw myself off the plane without a parachute. I'm terribly claustrophobic. We only had 4 days to produce the shoot, record time for me, but thankfully less time to dwell on the inevitable charter flight.
Luckily, I stayed totally calm on the flight, minus some sweaty palms.
WATCH A VIDEO OF OUR LANDING IN ST. BARTS
I think I was too distracted by all the beauty around me after our gnarly winter months. Once we landed in St Barts we met up with Sinclair Questel (pictured at left) of Sinclair Photo Production & Concierge Service. Totally laid back and cool. He informed me that I would be driving the second van, HOLY SHIT! I mean in Tennessee I don't have any problems driving my pick up around on the highways, but I was not ready to drive in unfamiliar territory, on narrow, windy, and very hilly roads.
I tried to remain calm and think about the options. I mean, would I put Zanna (left) behind the wheel??? I don't think so; she would probably start driving on the wrong side of the road or something being from England and all! I gathered myself and suggested we hit the road. After several near collisions, I got the hang of it and totally put myself into Mario Kart mode. It was a blast and no one was going to have a chance to drive after that lesson.
Sinclair totally hooked us up too with an amazing hotel; Le Hotel Toiny. They were excited for us to fly down for a day to shoot with Gilles and had set us up with the sweetest accommodations. Zanna and I decided to share to save money but still the villas they gave us are bigger than any of our apartments here in the city. We each had private pools, and we even had a walk in closet! What a dream. As soon as we arrived, I ran straight out back for a quick dip in the pool then I chose my option between a bath or a shower. Work had to begin again immediately and I needed to refresh. This was such a whirlwind of a shoot so I had to stay on top of everything.
The next day began at 5 am. I had a much-needed night of rest cut short to Zanna's clicking and rolling of her blackberry early in the morning. I realized we've got little time to get 12 shots in through the day. Zanna rushed off to supervise hair and makeup and I re-packed our looks to be put into our van/wardrobe mobile. By 7am we were on our way to a beautiful beach. What a way to start a morning!
Looking out into the crystal waters, it was hard not to look a little disgruntled that we were working; but shooting on location has it's rewards all the same. The day spun around in a quick pace. A few shots on the beach then a change of location. Driving became my absolute highlight of the day.
I'm sure Souhi (our hair/mu artist) and Maja (our model - pictured at left) had some moments of pure terror but we became bonded in our fashion bus. Cranking up anything familiar we could find on the radio, trying to make it up the steep hills, and avoiding collisions as the hot guys on the island distracted me. Some of the workers wear shorts shorter than any hot shorts I would wear and they're straight! I love the islands!
About 14 hours later and after quite a few adventures, our one-day in St. Barts came to its end. We optimistically thought we might have the energy to go into town and have a nice dinner but after a day like we had we were too exhausted to be bothered going any further than our hotel restaurant. Luckily Le Toiny has a wonderful restaurant and I had an amazing meal! I recommend the Champaign with crushed strawberries as well! A few of those along with the view will send you straight into a happy coma!
The next morning I threatened the gang, as I drove us to the airport that I may just kidnap everyone and take them somewhere to the other side of the island so we would miss our flights. I was totally feeling a Lost moment!!!! Sadly the only thing I Lost was my nerve and here I am back in New York. Only flooded with the memories of a day or was it two I may or may not have had in St. Barts. It was such a blur, I'm not even sure my photos are real…
WATCH THIS VIDEO OF THE PHOTO SHOOT