The Back­story

If your es­cape from to­day’s trou­bled times in­cludes hid­ing in a cave, we rec­om­mend you head to this frozen won­der­land.

Fashion (Canada) - - The Draw | The New Armour - By Ben Reyes

Within min­utes of lift­ing off the heli­pad, we leave the lush forested land­scape around Whistler and fly over the Pem­ber­ton Ice­field en route to our set. To­day’s “stu­dio” will be an ice cave that is lo­cated 1,300 me­tres up on a snow-capped peak in Bri­tish Columbia’s Coast Moun­tain Range. We’re fly­ing in two A-star he­li­copters that have been care­fully packed with nine duf­fle bags of de­signer clothes. “This cave was dis­cov­ered 25 years ago, but it has likely been around for 10,000 or more years,” ex­plains Paul Carus, our guide from Head-Line Moun­tain Hol­i­days. “It’s our fourth year fly­ing peo­ple here for day trips; be­fore that, we had to snow­mo­bile or trek our way in. Now it takes 20 min­utes. Peo­ple are al­ways in a state of awe when they get here. It’s dif­fi­cult to de­scribe in words or cap­ture in pho­to­graphs—even pro­fes­sional ones don’t do it jus­tice.”

As the videog­ra­pher, I’m tasked with try­ing. I’m tak­ing footage of the snowy land­scape below when the pi­lot in the other he­li­copter says over the in­ter­com, “Do you want us to do a dive for your video?” “Yes!” I re­ply, think­ing this is my chance at the Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble mo­ment of my dreams. (Later, Owen Bruce, our pho­tog­ra­pher, re­counted what it was like to be in that he­li­copter dur­ing its block­buster fly­ing mo­ment. “I was al­ready so ex­cited that I felt a bit nau­seous—and the aerial ac­ro­bat­ics didn’t help, that’s for sure,” he said. “This whole ex­pe­ri­ence made me feel quite emo­tional as it was the pin­na­cle of a year’s worth of plan­ning and dream­ing com­ing to fruition!”)

Our ar­rival is sur­real. We land on a des­o­late yet im­mensely beau­ti­ful snow­field sur­rounded by rocky hills. It feels like the moon scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey, ex­cept in­stead of an eerie op­er­atic hum, there’s the soothing sound of rush­ing wa­ter in the dis­tance, and in­stead of a tow­er­ing mono­lith, there’s a dark but invit­ing en­trance carved into

the snowy land­scape. Now I know what Carus meant when he said it’s im­pos­si­ble to de­scribe this glassy, un­du­lat­ing ice palace. Shafts of light pierce their way through the scal­loped and translu­cent walls, cast­ing an oth­er­worldly turquoise glow. The ice is formed when melt­wa­ter streams carve their way through the base of the ice­field, cre­at­ing a labyrinth filled with icy sculp­tures and spires. We walk along the small river inside the cave so that Owen and our creative direc­tor, Brit­tany Ec­cles, can scout a lo­ca­tion for the first shot. Five photos later, it’s time for a pic­nic out­side on the ice cap. Af­ter lunch, we re­turn to an area in the cave known as “the Cathe­dral.” Inside this swirling shaft of crys­talline blue ice, Owen snaps the cover shot with our model, Maartje Verhoef.

Around 5 p.m., we re­luc­tantly climb back into the he­li­copters and leave this un­for­get­table frozen won­der­land. On the flight back, Ju­liana Schi­av­inatto, our stylist, re­marks that this is one of those “stay present ex­pe­ri­ences.” “It’s amaz­ing,” adds Su­sana Hong, our makeup artist. “I can’t be­lieve I get to ex­pe­ri­ence these kinds of mo­ments in my line of work.”

The pi­lot tells us to keep our eyes peeled for moun­tain goats, ex­plain­ing that on con­stant trips back and forth, it’s a way to pass the time. Pass­ing the time doesn’t in­ter­est me. I wish that time would sus­pend, like us, here in this mo­ment hun­dreds of me­tres above a pic­turesque val­ley, a bed of clouds hang­ing lazily just out of reach—one last epic mo­ment be­fore the cred­its roll. When I ask Maartje Verhoef how she ended up in mod­el­ling, she gives the ex­act re­sponse you’d ex­pect from a five-foot-10.5-inch doeeyed Dutch beauty: “I’m re­ally lucky—it all just kind of hap­pened to me.” You may never have read Verhoef’s bio, but this small-town stand­out-turned-in­ter­na­tional su­per­model story is one you’ll likely rec­og­nize. “A friend of mine asked me to shoot a pro­ject he was work­ing on,” she says. (Sounds a lit­tle fa­mil­iar al­ready, doesn’t it?) “Then he sent pic­tures to Micha Mod­els, and I signed with them. Af­ter that, every­thing went quite fast. I met [cast­ing direc­tor] Ash­ley Brokaw, and she booked me as a Prada World Wide ex­clu­sive!”

In Septem­ber 2012, when Verhoef was just 15, she opened the Prada Spring 2013 run­way show in Mi­lan. When she was 17, she was crowned the most pop­u­lar model of the Spring 2015 sea­son af­ter walk­ing 66 run­ways. Back then, hav­ing a six-fig­ure so­cial me­dia fol­lower count was rare. To­day, Verhoef has 160,000+ In­sta­gram fol­low­ers—a by-prod­uct of her seem­ingly glam­orous job, fa­mous model friends and en­vi­able eye­brows.

Al­though she’s a sea­soned glo­be­trot­ter, this was her first visit to Canada—not to men­tion the first time she’d ever flown in a he­li­copter to an ice cave on the top of a moun­tain. “This shoot has been a dream,” she says. When Verhoef’s not in the air jet­set­ting from one ex­otic lo­cale to another, she stays grounded by sur­round­ing her­self with peo­ple she cares about. “These are the peo­ple who love me for the per­son I am.” —Meghan McKenna



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