British couturier to royalty Catherine Walker & Co has collaborated with the Royal School of Needlework to offer a unique student placement: the chance to create hand-embellished Swarovski crystal ‘stardust’ on an evening dress from the House’s new AW19 collection.
Second year Degree Students, Emile Donielaite and Rachel Burnett, worked closely alongside the 30 artisans who reside at Catherine Walker & Co’s atelier in London’s Chelsea, to hand embellish hundreds of Swarovski crystals on ‘Stardust’, a sharply tailored, A-line dress made of midnight navy brocade.
The Royal School of Needlework is the international centre of excellence for the art of hand embroidery and teaches its unique Hand Embroidery Degree in dedicated studios at Hampton Court Palace. Both the Royal School and Catherine Walker & Co have long established royal links and are known for making hand embellishment relevant today.
The student placement provided an opportunity for the students to gain an understanding of the inner workings of a Fashion House that has remained one of Britain’s independent leading couturiers for 42 years.
Co-founder and Head of Design at Catherine Walker & Co, Said Cyrus said: “I was delighted to invite two students from the Royal School of Needlework to have hands-on experience with us and we were very impressed both by Emile and Rachel’s abilities and enthusiasm. I was also lucky enough to tour the Royal School’s Degree Studios at Hampton Court Palace and view student and graduate work. I was so impressed by the standards that are being instilled there. It’s vital that we nurture and champion future talent in artisanal skills.”
Angie Wyman, Leader of the Degree Course at the Royal School of Needlework also commented, “As part of our Degree Course in Hand Embroidery we offer students the opportunity to engage with live projects to help their professional development and to give experience in the industry. We are delighted to be collaborating with Catherine Walker and to help bring this bespoke evening dress to life.”