Mikaela Shiffrin Cover Shoot – SNOW Magazine

The 2016-17 ski season in Colorado was a good one with plenty of snow and lots of sunny days. Aspen hosted World Cup finals and every day was glorious and warm. Mikaela Shiffrin won the Slalom globe as well as the overall World Cup title.  We spoke to her about doing a feature story with a high fashion photo shoot. We were entranced with the idea of shooting her as the snow princess. We assembled a team for the shoot which included top photographer Christian Alexander, Ernesto Sempoll on lighting, and the amazing John Martinez as the stylist. We put together a book full of inspiration images and began to search for clothing. Even though Mikaela is a world class athlete, she is quite slim and fit into the size 2 samples we pulled from the FW17 runway collections. We settled on a look from Fendi, one from Dennis Basso, one from Silvia Tcherassi, and a cosy sweater dress from Manrico cashmere.

We knew we wanted to shoot her in the snow, but the warm temps in late March and early April were making a snowy backdrop difficult. We wanted to shoot close to home for Mikaela so we decided to base ourselves in the town of Minturn in between Vail and Beaver Creek. We had the good fortune to put the entire team up at the Minturn Inn. The Inn made a warm and welcoming base for the team. We settled in and Innkeeper Marco Tonazzi appeared with some fabulous treats from his Italian grocery store down the road. Marco was a member of the Italian National Ski Team and also owns one of the best apparel stores in Vail along with his wife Amy. He sliced some Italian Speck and Parmesan cheese and opened a bottle of red. The team instantly fell in love with Marco and the Minturn Inn. I was excited to have them stay in Minturn because it is such a charming town with so much personality. A walk down Main Street to The Minturn Saloon is an experience not to miss. It is right outside the Inn’s front door and most everything in Minturn can be explored on foot.
We made our way to the inviting rooms, most with an in room fireplace, because we had a big day of scouting ahead of us. We awoke to the smell of Italian coffee brewing which made it easier to get up and out of bed. Marco personally cooked us all breakfast and shared some Panettone, an Italian Holiday sweet bread that was a trip to Italy in every bite. Full and energized we set out to scout locations for the shoot.
We set out on snowmobiles so we could get high up into the mountains where it still looked like winter. Lead scouting director Mike Rasmussen took the intrepid SNOW team fresh from the beaches of Miami up in the mountains by snowmobile. We found some magical spots, but really felt like we needed more snow and a fresh white paint job. Our wish was granted and we woke up to a complete blizzard the next day. Maybe not the best for a photo shoot in sleeveless gowns, but it did seem fitting to be shooting the snow princess in the snow.
Mikaela arrived for fittings and hair and make up done by Justin St. Clair. We finalized the looks and SNOW editor Lori Knowles interviewed Mikaela while she was getting her hair and make up done. Mikaela was gracious and spoke openly about her life on the World Cup circuit and what it takes to get to the top and stay there.
The team headed out to set up the first shot while Mikaela finished with Justin and Lori. We had stopped by Marco’s home in Eagle the night before and noticed he had a stable with majestic horses and thought, wouldn’t it be great to have a horse in the first shot? Marco and his wife Amy agreed and his daughter Isabella came out in the blizzard with their Paint horse Dreamer.
Mikaela arrived on set and we put her in the first look by Fendi and started shooting. Not only did Mikaela look gorgeous in the driving snow, but she became the horse whisperer extraordinaire and made sure Dreamer was looking good for his close up too. It was time to make magic, the snowy stage was set, we had perfect light, fabulous clothing, amazing jewelry from Buccellati and Betteridge,  Dreamer the horse, and of course our gorgeous star model.
We shot away and when we were convinced we got the shot, we moved onto the next look by an icy stream. Our biggest challenge was keeping Mikaela warm wearing next to nothing and keep the bulk of the falling snow out of her hair that Justin had worked on for hours. We had her wrapped up like a burrito when she wasn’t shooting and kept umbrellas over her head like an Indian princess on a sunny day.
 
Next we put her into a fabulous Dennis Basso gown and found a grove of Aspen trees as the backdrop. The shots were bringing our vision boards to life and the snow princess had a luminescent and radiant look to her. I think only someone like Mikaela could have pulled this off. I couldn’t imagine a model from Los Angeles even trying to step in for her.
The snow continued and we did one more shot by an old cabin and called it a wrap. It was an extraordinary effort by all involved and we are excited to share the images with the world in the fall.
We headed back to the Minturn Inn where Marco  was popping the cork on a delicious Prosecco and we grabbed the speck off the plate as fast as he could cut it. It had been a challenge to shoot in a total blizzard all day, but our star never let on that anything was other than perfect, and the mostly Miami based team saw a whole new side to shooting for SNOW in snow.
We had more work to do in the next few days to shoot SNOW’s fashion editorial so reluctantly we packed our things, said our good byes and promised Marco we would be back to stay at the Minturn Inn.