This wonderful exhibition marks the 40th anniversary of the genius of Catherine Walker.
I am fortunate to have Catherine Walker in my wardrobe, my favourite being an exquisite oyster pink, strapless on one shoulder, long dress which I wore at my sister's wedding. My sister's Catherine Walker wedding dress is superb too, finely detailed with crystals hand-sewn in to French lace. We were delighted with how Catherine Walker interpreted our vision for this special day.
Kate Reardon', Tatler’s Editor, wrote such a succinct introduction to the exhibition:
"To have a piece of clothing made for you is one of the most intimate things you can do, both intellectually and physically. Intellectually because what you chose to wear says everything about you, so to let someone design a piece of clothing for you is to allow them to tell your story to the world. Physically, because as you stand semi-naked, in front to the mirror, you are exposing yourself, literally. This is why a deep trust is so essential in the relationship between the designer and the client. You must trust that the designer sees you, listens to you and seeks to understand you.
Catherine Walker & Co. delivers talent and vision, beauty and execution, but they have always offered an environment of trust. No one has had their trust tested more often than Catherine Walker & Co's two most famous clients, Diana, Princess of Wales and The Duchess of Cambridge, so it is a true testament to the work and character of Catherine, her husband Said, and their exceptional team, that confidence in them has continued for a second generation. It is well-earned, and for many designers, would have been a struggle to deliver, but the ethos of the house has always been contrary. After their early success, they were bombarded with offers of untold riches in return for expansion and licensing agreements but they found these blandishments easy to resist (unheard of in the fashion industry!) preferring to focus on what Said and Catherine loved most - their design work and their clients”.
Exhibited entirely appropriately at Spencer House, 9 of Princess Diana's dresses are featured as well as beautiful sketches, archive pieces and wonderful examples of current collections.
The care and attention lavished on every element from the fabric cutting to the stitching to the buttons is extraordinary. These pieces bring back so many memories. The designs were created with such thought and care. Because then you turn around, see yourself in the mirror and recognise the very best version of yourself.