IT’S a long way from the red carpet to the medal podium, but Glasgow 2014’s medal bearers will have a touch of Hollywood glamour next year thanks to the appointment of stylist to the stars Kerry Nixon.
Nixon, who is more usually found adjusting the hems of A-list stars, including Sienna Miller, Gemma Arterton and Keira Knightley – who is also Nixon’s sister-in-law – has been appointed official designer for the bearers’ outfits for next year’s Commonwealth Games.
The medal bearers, prominent at last year’s Olympics in London thanks to their distinctive purple outfits, will be selected from the 15,000 volunteers who will take part in the 11-day event next year and will be on hand to present the athletes with their gold, silver and bronze medals at every medal ceremony.
Nixon, who is from Glasgow, said she was delighted to get the job.
“I’m so excited,” she said. “I’m formulating ideas and trying to encapsulate the feeling of the Games in the outfits. I want it to be really young and contemporary.
“Instead of being super-glamorous I think I’d like to have it in keeping with the values of the Games and have a really youthful look.
“A lot of the volunteers will be young and the athletes will be young, and the demographic across the Commonwealth is young too, so it would be nice to reflect that in the designs.”
Nixon said she had been watching videos of Commonwealth Games medal presentations right back to the 1970s in an attempt to get an idea of what sort of look to go for.
“I’ve been looking at some of the previous styling, some good, some not so good, and just trying to get an image in my head of what the designs should look like. It’s quite daunting to think about the legacy and realise this is going to be on the world stage,” she said.
Nixon, who is now based in London, said she wanted to give the outfits a flavour of Glasgow as well.
“Glasgow is such an incredibly stylish city, so much so that I’m always put to shame when I come to Glasgow, everyone’s so done up and so stylish I feel a bit out of place,” she said.
“But it’s stylish in terms of its cultural heritage and the arts scene in general; I think people are just very switched on about style and culture, and I want to try to reflect that in the outfits.”
Nixon married Caleb Knightley – a sound engineer for the BBC and brother to actress Keira – in 2010 in Glasgow. Keira Knightley was her bridesmaid, and wore a dress designed by Nixon for the occasion. The bride, meanwhile, wore a vintage 1950s gown.
As well as working as a stylist, selecting looks and outfits for celebrities walking the red carpet, Nixon runs her own bespoke label, making high-end designs for private clients.
In 2011, she released a collection of coats which were much favoured by A-listers including Miller, the Icelandic musician Bjork, and Hollywood actress Kirsten Dunst.
In the same year she was also shortlisted as young designer of the year at the Scottish Fashion Awards.
“I’m mainly a stylist now,” she said. “I do red carpet styling in London and I still run my own label for private clients. It’s tailoring that I do and I’ve got quite a loyal base of clients around the world. It’s fantastic to do something like this because, although I’ve done a lot of design work before, it’s a very specific type of project.”
The Glasgow Commonwealth Games is expected to attract 1.5 billion television viewers from around the world to see top athletes including Usain Bolt, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Scots including Eilidh Child, Lee McConnell and Michael Jamieson compete across the city.
Around one million tickets went on sale last Monday, and customers have until mid-September to bid for the tickets they want to some of the 256 events taking place during the Games.
Last month, the Games organisers announced that textile designer and artist Jilli Blackwood would create the parade uniforms for the Scottish team for the opening ceremony.
Nixon is keeping her designs under wraps for the moment, but says she hopes to incorporate Scottish fabrics into the final look, and use Scottish textile companies. And she said that despite Glasgow’s reputation for drizzly weather, she would not be designing rain-proof outfits.
“I’m trying not to think too much about that and be optimistic,” she said. “Rather than being weather specific it’s all about the design and the fun really.”