Couturier Catherine Walker & the RSN reunite

21st June, 2020

Second Year Degree students apply their hand embroidery expertise to create a romantically elegant summer suit featuring a garland of intricate embellishment and rose buds.

British couturier, Catherine Walker & Co, has reunited for the second year running with the RSN Degree. Two talented, second year BA (Hons) Hand Embroidery Degree students were given the opportunity to experience the inner workings of the iconic couturier and utilise their hand embroidery skills in new, exciting ways under the guidance of Head of Design Said Cyrus and his team of 30 artisans – some of whom have been with the House for over twenty years.

The RSN Degree students worked on the ‘Cora’ jacket which features delicate, hand embroidered, pink rose buds, Silk Shaded leaves and stems, and delicate French Knots – all combining to lend depth and animation to the blush pink jacket in double wool crepe. Two handmade buttons were also layered with embroidery. Similar roses festoon a hat created with Ladies Day at Royal Ascot in mind or a summer wedding.

Above: Catherine Walker & Co. & RSN – ‘Cora’ Hat

Above: Catherine Walker & Co. & RSN – ‘Cora’ Suit

Above: Detail of Silk Shading and the Roses at the Catherine Walker & Co atelier

Both the RSN and Catherine Walker & Co have made their names through distinguished patronage and for making the captivating artforms of fashion design and embellishment relevant – and to unrivalled standards today.

The student placement, filled by talented Alice Long and Lucy Martin, took place in the couturier’s workshops in London’s Chelsea and provided an excellent opportunity for the students to work alongside celebrated experts and understand a commercial environment in which corners are never cut, as well as have exposure to excellence evolved over 43 years.

RSN Degree Students Lucy Martin and Alice Long at Catherine Walker & Co

Alice and Lucy follow the inaugural placement of Emile Donielaite and Rachel Burnett last year who were given the opportunity to hand embellish hundreds of Swarovski crystals and create an abundance of dazzling, shooting stars on an A/W19 Collection ‘Stardust’ evening dress.

Said Cyrus commented: “I was delighted to once again, invite two students from the RSN to gain hands-on experience with us here at Catherine Walker. We were extremely impressed with both Alice and Lucy’s skills and their enthusiasm for embroidery and British haute couture. It is vital that we nurture and champion future talent in artisanal skills and this internship scheme provides an opportunity to do just that.”

Said Cyrus with RSN students Lucy Martin (centre) and Alice Long (right)

Angie Wyman, Leader of the Degree Course at the Royal School of Needlework, added: “Industry collaborations give our students such valuable insights into the real world, enabling them to apply their hand embroidery skills to new contexts and materials as well as gain experience – all of which are a key part of their learning and preparation for their career path.  We are delighted to be collaborating with Catherine Walker & Co for a second time and to give our students the opportunity to work in haute couture.”