Behind the Scenes: Coalcliff AW’23 Campaign Shoot

Words by Yu Mei

Yu Mei Autumn / Winter '23 campaign shoot with Heather Inwood at Coalcliff, Sydney

In September last year, we journeyed an hour south of Sydney to a tranquil beach town called Coalcliff, to shoot the campaign for Yu Mei's new season. Inspired by colours imagined from the words of James K. Baxter in his poem ‘The Bay’, we briefed the creative team with imagery of carved cliffs, pumice sands and waters deep.

In response, Vanessa Coyle, who led the creative and styling, showed us the beach down from her house at Coalcliff. It was the perfect location. Alongside Vanessa, we had Levon Baird behind the camera, Daren Borthwick and Stoj Bulic on hair and makeup; and Eyes Rodgers and Heather Inwood as our  faces for the new season. Kate Sullivan, from The Artist Group, helmed the production, while Emma Gott’s support from across the Tasman made it all possible.

Vanessa took inspiration for the wardrobe from some of our favourite designers; Phoebe Philo’s Celine, The Row, Margiela, Loewe and Acne Studios, alongside Australian designers ESSE and Beare Park. Vanessa even infused a bit of Yu Mei's magic from our AW21 Digital Runway at the Wellington City Gallery, resulting in a collection of coats, blazers, shirts and pants that were not only well-tailored but featured intricate detailing, making up costumes of deliberate anonymity. The styling bore the hallmarks of Vanessa and my personal aesthetic, with textures like oversized shiny leather coats and socks that reflected our autumn/winter colourways. Vanessa swears by Uniqlo in Australia or Marks & Spencers in the UK for a good selection of socks.

Met with perfect weather, something one cannot always count on in New Zealand, we worked relentlessly throughout the day to bring our vision to life. The breathtaking location, coupled with our exceptional team, made this shoot one for the books.

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