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Catherine Walker: The Royal Accord

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It has been SEEN’s pleasure and privilege to glimpse backstage (as it were) the latest SS17 collection for couturier Catherine Walker who celebrates their 40th anniversary and whose exquisite clothes typify an elegant Britishness, as epitomised by the late Princess of Wales and the present Duchess of Cambridge. If you buy a Catherine Walker piece (and look after it) you’ll have it forever. Said Cyrus, the creative director of Catherine Walker told SEEN of mother/daughter clients who wanted the Mother’s coat adjusted for the daughter to wear. In a touching cyclical happenstance, the Mother had worn the coat at her daughter’s christening. These pieces are heirlooms: a piece of design history and expertise as well as a garment that makes you feel fabulous when you wear it at Ascot.

Lulu Jacket and Skirt

The new collection is quite fairy-tale: a white skirt that is tailored and fringed that moves with the body; a gorgeous jacket made of Chanel material yet channelled in Catherine Walker’s design style; a dress that features a Dutch Old Master in its entirety; a clever coat/dress combination that is in fact, one garment. SEEN could only wonder at the artistry and patience of the craftsperson who hand-rolled embellishments to the front of a gown. There is an enviable archive on which Catherine Walker can draw for inspiration, and clients are able to make full use of this when ordering. E-couture is also available, but done in such a way that any final alterations can be made locally to the client for the finishing touch.

The Henrietta

Much in demand from clients (many of whom have their own bespoke mannequins) at home and abroad, Catherine Walker, perhaps uniquely, has workrooms in close vicinity to the showroom, thus ensuring that quality control is of the utmost precision and there is minimal wastage of materials and time in a client’s fitting. There is a tight-knit team at Catherine Walker and one senses a genuine pleasure in their seeing a client through the entire process and ensuring their complete satisfaction when they leave the shop. Consequently, their tailors, pattern-cutters, beaders and embroiderers are very invested in the brand. All the craftspeople at Catherine Walker are trained up in the couturier’s ways of working.

Heathcliffe

Said Cyrus explained the timelessness of the coats by delineating the process of tailoring and the way in which their shoulder pads are specially made in Italy. The ladies’ coats are tailored rather than constructed by a seamstress, giving a certain structural solidity to the coats that make them truly heirlooms.

In designing for members of the royal family, much research is done to ensure that the gowns are suitable for royal occasions, where historic symbolism is important. Said Cyrus was, of course, properly discreet about his current royal clientele whilst appreciating that there is still much interest in the late Princess of Wales and her style; her dresses are currently on display in Kensington Palace, many of them by Catherine Walker. Eschewing the catwalk (except in support of The Haven set up in memory of Said Cyrus’ late wife Catherine who passed away from cancer) Catherine Walker remains (excitingly in these post-Brexit days), resolutely exquisite, hand-crafted, British and with a minimal carbon footprint, a fashion leader.

www.catherinewalker.com

Catherine Walker & Co
65 Sydney Street
Chelsea
London
SW3 6PX

Kensington Place
Kensington Gardens
London
W8 4PX

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