Tell us about the early design brief
In a nutshell, the brief was to be as creative as possible and use any source of inspiration to come up with a unique and eye-catching design for the costumes of the victory ceremonies.
What inspired your design concept?
I began by looking into British legends and Greek mythology then enhanced this narrative with a contemporary feel of London. Both outfits focussed on the graphic vision of the Games, giving the silhouettes a sleek and tailored design that fitted cohesively with the clean lines of the London 2012 brand. I also introduced the sartorial heritage of Savile Row tailoring into the costumes, which brought a sense of sophistication, plus a punk zipper influence that helped to give the clothes edge and a modern approach.
The Escort outfits are also influenced by traditional Greek costumes from the original era of the Olympics; re-interpreted as draped lines and I drew inspiration for the Medal and Flower Bearer costumes from the Legend of King Arthur, with detailing picked out in gauntlet sleeve shapes and jacket panels.
What challenges did you face along the way?
One of the major design challenges I faced was creating articulating gauntlet suit sleeves that would work for the camera angles and avoid appearing bulky. We achieved this with a lovely, simple and elegant solution of creating another panel over the top of the existing sleeve. This was attached just below the elbow to give the piece movement and a gauntlet shape when holding the medal or flower trays.
What about specific design challenges?
Given such a wide brief, the first challenge was to decide where I would draw inspiration from. I worked on a British theme, intertwining the London 2012 branding throughout. A second challenge was to create the design to work for the camera positions so that design details were not lost – for example, getting the panelling to look right on the suit jackets so that all the lines and levels of the jacket were interesting and noticeable. I used people as ‘cameras’ to look at the sightlines to check what the clothes looked like from different angles to resolve this question. It was also important to make sure that the pieces and colours worked well together as a unit.
How did it feel to be involved in such an important British project?
It was a fantastic experience – I’ve never had such engaging discussions about different shades of purple! I feel very proud to have been a part of London 2012. It didn’t really sink in until I saw the pieces on TV.