Vanissa Antonious has a unique talent for creating a range of luxury accessories that few women can resist.
Following an illustrious career in the world of glossy magazine publishing, firstly in her native Australia, and later in London (where she now calls home), Vanissa launched NEOUS in 2017. With 10 years of styling experience, she was well-positioned to identify a gap in the market for wearable and versatile footwear that can stand the test of time. NEOUS shoes are defined by clean lines and sculptural accents, and as Vanissa notes, the brand aesthetic is “minimalist with a point of intrigue.”
Since its launch, NEOUS has expanded to encompass handbags that are every inch as covetable as the brand’s shoes. To date, travel and the need for simplicity have driven and inspired the brand’s accessories offering. “While travelling frequently throughout most of 2019, I designed the Saturn Tote; it’s an oversized tote that fits just about anything you could need,” Vanissa adds.
These past few years, travel has been mostly for work rather than pleasure, as the label has garnered international recognition, but this has been no less enjoyable: “There is the distraction from reality, which always comes as a blessing on the mind.”
Practising daily meditation and equipped with her prerequisite headphones, we delve into Vanissa Antonious’ travel psyche…
What is the first trip you remember taking?
When I was young we would always take holidays on the north-east coast of New South Wales, Australia. I grew up in Sydney, so we’d drive for hours up the coast visiting different beaches. I remember the long car rides with my family in the heat, and the long days on the beaches once we arrived.
What’s been your most memorable trip and why?
It is so hard to say, but a few summers ago, my boyfriend and I went to Sardinia. We stayed in a remote part of the island, in a small house which overlooked the ocean. Each day we sailed around the island in a small boat we had hired. We stopped at different points and would go swimming, and then stop for lunch at different places around the coast. It was towards the end of summer, so it wasn’t too busy, and at times we were only people about for miles. It was heaven.
Where or what is your escape?
Anywhere by the sea. Like I said, I grew up on in Sydney, so anywhere warm and by the sea feels like home and puts me at ease. It calms my mind and makes me remember the very simple pleasures in life.
If you could go anywhere tomorrow it would be…
Egypt: both my parents were raised there and I’m dying to go back to discover the culture further.
What’s your idea of a luxury holiday?
Complete freedom! To do everything or nothing at all, and to go at your own pace, with great views of either the sea or mountains.
What is your favourite ever hotel?
The Puli in Shanghai. I’d been on a long trip through Asia for work and Shanghai was my last stop. The hotel interiors were so calming – it was all made of dark wood with traditional Chinese features and an incredible spa. I’m not sure if it was just my exhaustion, but this is my favourite hotel I have ever stayed in. I almost extended my trip just so I could stay in the room another day!
Where do you get your holiday inspiration?
I love to explore different cultures, so I’m slowly making my way through a visit to each country. The last few years have been filled with work, so normally I’ve craved beach holidays. I am definitely ready for new experiences; South America and Mexico are next on my list.
My top bucket list destination is…
I’m yet to explore most of America, I’m looking forward to a Pacific Coast road trip.
If you could sit next to anyone – dead or alive – on a long-haul flight, who would it be?
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What’s on your travel playlist?
My ‘Discover Weekly’ playlist: it’s a great source for new inspiration.
How do you switch off?
Meditation or exercise. I found it’s the only way to switch my mind off. I try to meditate every morning, and exercise every second day. These are the only things which have kept me sane this past year.
What is your jet-lag recovery tip?
Exercise, water, and forcing yourself into a routine.
What is your suitcase stalwart?
A good pair of comfortable jeans.
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What is your number one packing tip?
Less is more!
Who is your favourite travel companion?
Myself and my headphones. Nothing is more liberating than travelling the globe on your own. I’ve spent a fair amount of time travelling on my own for work. It’s the only real time I get on my own, I find it’s a great chance to reflect. But in all honestly, my boyfriend is a pretty good travel companion too. I find you have to travel with people that want to go at the same pace as you.
What is your most treasured purchase from your travels?
On a trip to Marrakech, I came back with handwoven rugs and blankets. They are now a staple in our home, I can’t imagine not having them.
Where is home and what are your must-do’s for any tourists visiting?
Home is a funny concept for me. I still refer to Sydney as home, but London is where my physical home is. For those visiting London I would recommend all the markets: Broadway, Borough, and Portobello Road. And all the major galleries, of course, but also be sure to visit smaller galleries like 50 Earlham Street.
First thing that comes to your mind…
Packing: roll or fold?
Inflight book or inflight film?
Music or podcasts?
Time filler on a long-haul flight?
Films, films and more films.
Holiday tipple of choice?
Best shopping gem found abroad?
Beach or City Break?
Ultimate holiday treat?