Catherine Aitken Designs featured on Judy Murray's website... July 13 2015
AS A tennis coach, Judy Murray barely gives a thought to what she wears, but dressing for Strictly and working on accessories for Andy’s hotel have really raised the stakes
Judy Murray is the first to admit she was never a clotheshorse, with a wardrobe of jeans and sportswear more suited to coaching and travelling. But since she had found herself increasingly in the media spotlight, she’d been giving it a little more thought. Then there was the TV footage she saw of herself watching Andy playing at Wimbledon…
“Never wear vest tops. That’s what I learnt. I had a habit of clapping with my hands above my head and they showed me doing it in slow motion. I had thought my arms were not too bad for an old bird until they ran that. So, no more vest tops.
“Dressing for Wimbledon you need something that’s not going to stick when it’s hot and something to cover up when it’s cold.”
As well as paying more attention to her wardrobe, Murray has been focusing on design since she began working with Harris Tweed Hebrides and Scottish-based designers Catherine Aitken, Gráinne Broderick and Katherine Emtage on a tennis-inspired range of bespoke Harris Tweed fashion accessories and homeware, made exclusively for Cromlix, the hotel outside Dunblane owned by Andy and his wife Kim.
Launched last year, the Cromlix Collection of accessories includes handbags, washbags, messenger bags, cushions and cuff links, all made with Harris Tweed in a design specially commissioned for the hotel.
“We wanted something special for the hotel and picked those colours, purple and green, because they’re the Wimbledon colours and also the colours around Cromlix, the purple heather. My preference in tartans and tweed is for the more traditional colours.
“A lot of the Cromlix visitors are from overseas, so it was nice for it to have a Scottish link, and Harris Tweed is a good idea. We are very proud of our heritage and the hotel is very Scottish. It’s like an old country home and we’ve made it look as close to how it was while modernising it, leasing things like the paintings from the original owners.”
With the Cromlix Collection, which was launched last year, proving popular, Judy and her team have extended the range with several new items.
“It’s a small collection so far, but now we’ve brought in a few extra pieces, all in the Cromlix Tweed and some with deerskin leather and feathers too. There’s a baseball cap, because I wear them a lot, more bags – a smaller messenger one, a funky evening bag with a clasp handle and feathers, a clutch with a bow, a bag with leather on one side and tweed on the other – and iPad and iPhone covers.”
With all items made in Scotland, the collection also includes the specially commissioned bergamot and ginger toiletries created by Arran Aromatics for Cromlix.
“I have a jacket in the tweed and we are aiming to have people who stock the tweed making up things to order. I have a couple of waistcoats I had made, one with black leather lapels, and they’re great to dress things up. There’s also a stole trimmed in feathers that I wore to the Sports Personality of the Year Awards.”
For Murray, working on the Cromlix Collection has been a complete change of scene from her usual tennis coaching duties. Currently captain of the British Fed Cup team, she also campaigns to get more girls and women into sport.
“I’ve enjoyed getting involved in this. It’s been fun. I’ve really liked working with the designers to come up with something different. Also it’s been something completely new for me, with nothing to do with sport or tennis, so it’s been a really nice switch-off,” she says.
“I was never interested in clothes or accessories when I was younger. I had my ears pierced when I was 15 because the bus conductor kept calling me ‘son’. Then I was always on the road with the boys and other people’s children, so I just wore jeans or a tracksuit. I’ve always thought the most important thing is to be comfortable, so I’m usually in jeans, scabby sweatshirts and flip-flops. I just put my head down and go for comfort,” she says.
“I was never interested in make-up or fashion until the last two or three years, but now I have a bit more time to myself and more money and I’m going out more to social occasions.”
With the spotlight on Judy, whether it’s watching her sons play tennis or appearing at awards ceremonies – or the sparkly world of Strictly Come Dancing last year – even the smartest tracky bottoms and hoodie weren’t going to cut it. Strictly moved her wardrobe into a whole new world of glitz with a different outfit for each dance.
“I loved all of them. I couldn’t believe how much I loved all of them. Because everybody is dressed up and everything is sparkly you don’t feel self-conscious, it’s part of the show and it becomes second nature.
“The Cruella de Vil outfit for Halloween was one of my favourites. It had 3,000 crystals on it, an amazing fishtail and netting, with a white stole. That was amazing. The boys were very complimentary about how I looked on Strictly because they had never seen me dressed up. I have two very glamorous daughters-in-law and I always joke with the boys that they say you pick a wife that reminds you of your mother, except their wives are both glam. What happened?”
When we spoke on the eve of Wimbledon, Andy had just won his fourth Queen’s Club title and was in impressive form and Jamie is riding high with doubles partner Australian John Peters. How did she rate their chances at Wimbledon this year?
“It’s impossible to tell what’s going to happen. They’re both contenders for their events and aiming to win but that’s a very difficult thing to do. Seven matches in five days, each five sets, it’s physically very demanding, plus there’s the added spotlight of it being a home Grand Slam.
“But being on grass presents an opportunity, because not so many of the foreign players are comfortable on it. It also produces disadvantages too, in that tall guys with a big serve can come up with an unexpected win on the day, like Lukas Rosol beating Nadal.
“But winning Queen’s has given Andy a lot of confidence and both boys are comfortable on grass. They love Wimbledon. They do well there,” she says.
If they haven’t made it as far as the Wimbledon silverware this year, the Murray boys can always console themselves with a pair of Cromlix Collection cuff links.
“They have no interest in clothes whatsoever, but yes, they wear cuff links if they’re going to something special,” Murray says.
And whether or not the Murray boys return victorious from Wimbledon, visitors and fans will be able to take home a memory of Cromlix House. n
The Cromlix Collection, prices start from £25, is available online and Cromlix, www.cromlix.com.
Cromlix Hotel, Kinbuck, near Dunblane, Perthshire FK15 9JT. Some of the Collection is also available at Graham Stewart Silversmith in Dunblane,www.grahamstewartsilversmith.co.uk