In the 26 years that senior editor Jule Campbell has been presiding over our annual swimsuit issue, she has become increasingly defensive. Each fall, just as the weather in New York City is turning nasty, Campbell jets off to some secret, sunny locale for as long as two months. "When I get back, my friends wonder why I'm not relaxed," says Campbell. "I have to tell them that this is not like going on vacation."
Of course it isn't, they retort. Imagine having to constantly ponder what level of sunscreen to apply—sounds like the very essence of rough duty.
Cynics be advised: Campbell's job is rough duty. In November, Campbell journeyed to the Windward Islands, a Caribbean chain about 100 miles northeast of Venezuela, and was joined, at various times, by the 13 models she had selected. Every day, the swimsuit crew was awakened at 4 a.m. in order to be on location by sunup.
Hopping back and forth by boat among the 10 islands chosen for the shoot was a logistical nightmare. As often as four times a day, the crew had to pack and unpack some 60 bags of equipment, including items seldom associated with either the tropics or swimwear. For example:
•A leaf blower. Because humidity is the bane of bouncy, behaving hair, photographer Robert Huntzinger brought along the machine, which made for windswept manes. "Once, it blew out Kathy Ireland's contact lenses," says Campbell.
•Palm fronds. They came in handy for treeless islands that needed some atmospheric shade and dappled light.
•Ladders. Some of the islands were so small that for Hunt-zinger to achieve the proper distance from his subjects, he had to shoot from a ladder in the surf.
•Trampolines. "We sought more energy in the pictures," says Campbell, so some of the models were asked to "catch air" off a trampoline.
•Rakes. Beaches in their natural state often need a lot of tidying up.
Unfortunately, there was no way to prepare for the weather. Old Testament rains fell for most of the last three weeks of the six-week shoot. One of the models, Michaela Bercu, was on location for seven days, at the end of which not a single suitable picture was shot, thanks to near-hurricane-force rains.
The good sport award went to model Anna Getaneh, who, after work one day on the island of Petit St. Vincent, retired to her room. While lying in bed, Getaneh felt a slight tugging near her right ear. A foot-long land crab had entangled itself in her luxuriant locks. After coolly sifting her options, Getaneh settled on this one: run screaming from the room. Fortunately, Francois Ilnseher, the crew's hairdresser, was passing by and removed the offending crustacean.
Nature didn't always conspire against Campbell & Co. One morning after a storm, Huntzinger spotted an enormous piece of driftwood in the surf. He and his assistants waded out to retrieve it, and several hours later hauled it onto the beach. The driftwood turned out to be spectacular, especially when Ashley Richardson used it as a chaise longue (see the foldout).
Musts for the shoot: a locks blower (here Elle Macpherson strikes a sympathetic cord), a ladder for Huntzinger (that's Bercu in the foam), an umbrella (Getaneh reigns in the rain) and sand (Campbell gives Ireland a derriere dusting).
[See caption above.]
[See caption above.]