As much as Jack Smith appreciates the Indigo Island stewards’ ability to provide the resort’s guests with absolute seclusion (“Deep Blue Secret,” page 112), he believes it would be impossible for most high-profile figures to evade detection indefinitely. “Even Robert Vesco couldn’t hide out on the island forever,” notes Smith, referring to Indigo’s former owner, who fled from the United States to the Bahamian island to avoid arrest for embezzlement and then later fled to Cuba when his money-laundering operation drew the attention of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. “If someone wants to find you bad enough, eventually they will.” (Later, Indigo was transformed into an ultraexclusive resort by its current owner, whose identity, unlike Vesco’s whereabouts, remains a secret.) Smith, the first media member ever invited to Indigo, may not have learned who owns the island now, but he did uncover boatloads of animals during his visit. Among them were several of the 12 species of bats that inhabit the island. “They feed on small insects and fruit. They are not a hazard to humans,” he explains. “Neither are the snakes, which can grow up to 6 feet in length.” However, the island’s 18-inch-long rock iguanas did, at one time, menace people, albeit with the aid of special effects. “They were the dinosaurs you see chasing cavemen in old horror movies,” says Smith. He discovered no creatures—dangerous or benign—in what the natives call blue holes, the underwater limestone caves that are common in the Bahamas, because he stayed away from those places. “Given the sumptuous nature of the resort, who would bother diving in caves?” asks Smith. He did enjoy a special Indigo Island cocktail, the ingredients of which, in keeping with the resort’s aura of secrecy, he declines to divulge.
Serving as the backdrop for this month’s fashion photo spread (“Ship Shape,”) is the 226-foot Attessa, a recently reconstructed Feadship. “Our take on nautical style emphasizes class rather than cute,” says Robb Report senior editor Laurie Kahle, who oversees the magazine’s fashion, jewelry, and watch coverage. “Attessa’s striking profile and custom appointments complement these refined fashions, which pair crisp white with bold hits of color. They also underscore subtle details that define premium quality.” Shooting on location always poses challenges, she says, but commuting by tender to a ship moored off the coast of Long Beach, Calif., required an additional level of logistical coordination as crew, photography equipment, clothing, and security guards bearing precious jewelry and watches had to be shuttled to and from shore. “Once everyone and all the equipment were on board, we crossed our fingers that we had everything we needed from the mainland,” says Kahle, “and that no one would get seasick.”
The stylist for the fashion spread, Michael Cioffoletti, works primarily in the world of fashion advertising, but he does stray “into editorial when it’s inspiring,” he says. A veteran of past Robb Report shoots, Cioffoletti, who holds a degree in international business and economics, worked in fashion retail for years but needed “to take it to a more personal level,” and so he became a personal wardrobe consultant for a variety of clients in Los Angeles. He particularly enjoys the collaborative nature of the Robb shoots. “It really is a whittling-down process that starts when the theme—and nautical seemed to be a strong fashion trend this year—is decided. Laurie [Kahle] chooses what designers she wants to use, and I call them and order pieces that should work. Then Laurie, Ken deBie [Robb Report vice president and design director], the photographer, and myself come up with a vision that fits the theme. Of course the boat was a big factor in our thinking.”