In the Bag: Vanessa Coyle

Words by Yu Mei
Portrait by Holly Ward

Vanessa has been a long-time collaborator of Yu Mei, styling the last three campaigns.

Making the leap from Sydney to London at the early stage of her fashion career, Vanessa Coyle has always followed her own path. Now, when she’s not indulging her self-professed furniture obsession, the celebrated stylist and artistic director is busy shaping the visual narratives of brands, talents, and magazines. Read on to uncover Vanessa’s creative perspectives, unwavering commitment to her craft, and the importance of finding another angle.


I am a fashion stylist, brand consultant and artistic director. I started as a young designer with my label in Sydney, which I co-founded with a friend. We were stocked in international boutiques, such as Browns in London—it was great while it lasted but I knew I wanted to be in Europe.

I unexpectedly side-stepped into styling early on in my career and relocated to London where I took up the position of Senior Fashion Editor at Harper’s Bazaar UK, before moving on to become the Fashion Director at Under The Influence magazine. These positions brought many creative collaborations with established and emerging designers, magazines, musicians, directors, actors, creative directors and photographers.

Now, I work on a broad range of editorial projects for fashion publications and brands, while also consulting on collection design. Talent partnerships are a significant part of my business, with collaborations with Lara Worthington to Dasha Zhukova amongst others.

The best lesson I’ve learnt in my career is to follow your own path and not get caught up comparing yourself to others around you. And to be resilient—we all know fashion is a highly competitive industry! I believe there’s space for everyone who has a unique point of view.

I was the most brave when I had my first son. Leaving the hospital with a little human being for the first time is daunting, to say the least!


My style is a mix of tomboy and femme. Buttoned up, sexy, structured, soft. I like to play with balance and tension in the clothes that I wear, the spaces I curate, and the people that I style. I particularly love to experiment with shape, form, and exaggerated silhouettes when working editorially. I’m aesthetically driven and have always channelled my artistic pursuits into fashion, art and design.

More recently, this has extended into a furniture and interior obsession, which I was exploring before the pandemic but was able to indulge in during lockdowns. My home is a personal mix of design pieces and unique objects. Everything I have collected reminds me of a place, person, or experience.

I am drawn to both architectural and brutalist design. I like the contrast of hard and soft, angular, and organic, so I tend to always look for these elements in all of my design choices. Contrasting textures are at play in both my home and my styling.

Some of my favourite items include a rare Frank Gehry chair constructed of corrugated cardboard—it’s so sculptural and surprisingly sturdy—a pair of John Dickinson Africa plaster side tables with moulded feet, and an incredible collage piece by my friend and acclaimed artist David Noonan. I also find the hard-edged black lacquer of my Saratoga sofa by Lella and Massimo Vignelli very seductive. Other creators and artists I’m inspired by include Martin Margiela, Junya Watanabe, and Rick Owens (Belgian design from the 90’s).

Vanessa with her Phoebe Bucket in Black Deer Nappa


I’d be lying if I didn’t say I find the work-life balance a juggle. I tend to throw myself into projects that I’m excited about and then find other areas of my life can fall behind—especially boring life admin which I often leave until it becomes essential to deal with.

I like to be in a certain headspace when conceptualising shoots and projects (I run on adrenaline a lot of the time). The practical and logistical areas of my life can feel like quite the chore in comparison, and I still struggle to get the balance right.

I work with creative teams in many different time zones so I need to be flexible with my working hours. If that means getting up at 3 am to be on a Zoom fitting with a client, I’ll do it.

I’m a social creature so my happy place is socialising, whether that be drinks with friends or a gallery opening. I feel inspired and energised by so many of the wonderful, creative people I’ve met along the way throughout my career.


I try to be an organised person, and mostly I am when it comes to my work, but I need to write a lot of lists! I have piles of them on my desk and in my iPhone Notes, which I am continuously updating. Admittedly, I have to set a lot of alarms to remind me of appointments, meetings, dinners etc.

I alternate between two bags for my day-to-day. For work, I use the Yu Mei Teresa Tote as it perfectly fits my laptop, chargers, and notebook. I always carry my Byredo Rose Noir, Westman Atelier Eye Love You eye pencil, and liquid lip balm, Saint Laurent sunglasses, and a Mason Pearson hairbrush.

The Yu Mei Phoebe Bucket is my smaller everyday bag and I love it; modern, stylish and unfussy. I wear it to dinner, to the corner shop, and anywhere I don’t need to carry my laptop. It’s the perfect size to fit my essentials.


Dover Street Market is still one of my all-time favourite stores in London. It is a one-stop shopping experience with consistently great curations and my favourite, the Rose Bakery (there is nothing like a Prosecco and slice of cake).

I would recommend Beton Brut Gallery and Monument Store for the most exciting curations of modern design and furniture. And Claire de Rouen for a well-curated selection of art and fashion books.

The best advice I have been given is that the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over again and expecting different results. If something isn’t working stop doing it. Change your perspective. Work another angle!

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