Anna Mackie interior stylist

I was obsessed with fashion magazines from a young age. Their set designs and fantastical story-telling in the editorials and ad campaigns always intrigued me. I then decided to go back to uni and study interior design at Chelsea College of Art. This was after finding myself unfulfilled in a non-creative role, albeit at a creative company. At 26 that felt like a risk but I’m so glad I did it! In fact, all the different twists and turns in my career led me to where I am an interiors stylist now. After Chelsea, I interned and freelanced at interior design companies on both residential and commercial projects. I also assisted on a few interiors shoots. I knew I wanted to work on the creative, not technical, side of interiors. Eventually, I landed a job at what is now called Style Library. This is where I started assisting then styling shoots and designing displays for their showrooms and exhibitions.

“I suppose the glamorous part is shooting in amazing location houses, attending design weeks and press launches.”

An example of a Sanderson Chiswick Grove collection shoot at Chiswick Grove with styling by Anna and pictures by Chris Everard on location in Bath

Which projects have you worked on recently?

I only went freelance in May last year so I am really enjoying expanding my client list. It’s fantastic working with different brands and products and styling more still life imagery. My recent projects include styling an exhibition stand for Content by Terence Conran at the January Furniture show at the NEC. I’ve also contributed to a men’s fragrance shoot, a new sofa collection, a pretty abstract jewellery shoot and even an alcoholic beverage ad! I suppose the glamorous part is shooting in amazing location houses, attending design weeks and press launches. I also get to work with some seriously beautiful pieces of design with very hefty price tags.

An example of Sanderson‘s Chiswick Grove collection shoot with styling by Anna and pictures by Chris Everard on location in Bath

How would you describe a typical day?

It’s a cliché but it’s never ever the same! I spend some days frantically running around London propping, whilst others are spent at my desk researching ideas, creating new contacts and updating my website and blog.

If I’m prepping for a shoot I may be driving to recce [reconnaissance] a couple of locations, visiting prop houses and picking up and returning emails on my phone about all the different aspects of the shoot.

Anna beautifully styled these vintage cushions from Sanderson for a shoot with Chris Everard taking pictures

Which aspects of your job do you enjoy the most?

I love finding new pieces of design to include in my shoots. A lot of a stylist’s time is spent sourcing very specific props. In reality, these must create the right feel for whatever brief you are working on. It’s also pretty incredible when you walk into a potential location and it’s basically a palace! I always get a thrill seeing the final retouched images launch. In fact, it’s often several months after you have finished the shoot. I’m all about creating visually appealing and unusual compositions and I really enjoy when the set has been built and the camera is in position. I can then work with the photographer to place and tweak the props to create a really stunning image.

Anna styled this shot featuring vintage-style cushions for a Sanderson shoot with photography by Andy Gore

Tabletop shot styled by Anna, photos by Jon Aaron Green

 How do you spend your down time?

I think any interiors stylist will say the same – there is no downtime! Everything you see and do feeds into your mental Pinterest board of ideas that you are constantly curating and refining. I think naturally most stylists are real do-ers. You have to be mega organised and meticulous too for a lot of creative jobs, which is what makes them so unique! It’s definitely a goal to switch off more though and stop triple screening!

Styling by Anna with photos by Jon Aaron Green for a personal collaboration showcasing a collection of still-life images shot in a studio in Bethnal Green

Designer interview

Find out more about the wonderful world of wallpaper with our exclusive interview with the designer and creative director of The Paper Partnership in our blog post Fifteen minutes with…wallpaper designer Elizabeth Ockford