Fashion in Motion: Catherine Walker

August 2001

Fashion in Motion is a series of live catwalk events presented at the V&A. Featuring some of the greatest designers of our time, Fashion in Motion brings catwalk couture to a wider audience by modelling it against the beautiful backdrop of the Museum.

Largely self-taught, Catherine Walker has been influenced by the work of British photographer John French and by the technique and spirit of traditional French couturiers such as Madeleine Vionnet. One of the few couturiers living and working in London, Walker has created a couturier’s atelier along traditional lines with a team of dedicated, skilled seamstresses, tailors, embroiderers and others.

Walker’s early work is closely associated with her image-making, glamorous designs for Diana, Princess of Wales. Throughout her career Catherine Walker has sought to elongate the line of the body by focusing on lengthening the torso. She has also used delicate handwork such as embroidery and beading to achieve striking effects in her evening wear.

Catherine Walker’s Autumn/Winter 2001/2002 collection featured at the V&A Fashion in Motion in August 2001. In this collection, she uses couture techniques such as re-appliqué lace and chain hand stitching with crystal details on sheer panelling, slits and eyelet openings to create garments with a playful sensual elegance. This collection underlines the inherent contradiction of both hiding and revealing the body while maintaining the quality and timelessness of traditional couture.

Womenswear outfits

  1. Black silk knee-length gown with mesh-covered cut-away side panels embroidered in lattice pattern with crystals and beading
  2. Red silk satin full-length gown with diagonal slashing across bodice and skirt
  3. Black lace full-length gown with cut out panels at midriff
  4. Black silk knee-length gown with cut-away panel down front, edged with a bow motif of crystals and beading
  5. Black satin full-length gown with diagonal bodice line and fine mesh pane.

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You may not have thought of including a gift to a museum in your will, but the V&A is a charity and legacies form an important source of funding for our work. It is not just the great collectors and the wealthy who leave legacies to the V&A. Legacies of all sizes, large and small, make a real difference to what we can do and your support can help ensure that future generations enjoy the V&A as much as you have.

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