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Catherine Walker 40th Anniversary Exhibit & the 2018 WKW Calendar

We’re back with a post covering several topics, starting with an update to Kate’s Calendar for this Wednesday.

  • Wednesday, December 6: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be in Manchester for the Children’s Global Media Summit. William will give the keynote address at the Summit, “….which brings together experts from around the world to inform and redesign the future of media for this generation.” Kensington Palace reports the event will “…also explore the impact that digital technology will have on children’s futures.” Kate will take part in a forum “…hosted by Sesame Street’s Workshop, the charitable foundation of the famous children’s TV show, on research commissioned into kindness – a method used to help very young children express issues of emotional wellbeing.”


Now to the primary topic of our post. Many readers know Catherine Walker was a favorite of Diana, Princess of Wales; she wore hundreds of pieces by the designer.
Embed from Getty Images
The label is also a go-to for the Duchess of Cambridge.

Most recently we saw Kate wearing Catherine Walker for the annual Festival of Remembrance in November.

Two styles very much like designs Kate has worn were part of an exhibit in October celebrating the brand’s 40th anniversary. The private event was held at Spencer House in London; the home belongs to Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer.

The event was a fundraiser for two charities: SSAFA, supporting armed forces members and their families; and Brendoncare, an organization operating multiple nursing homes, and currently building one that would allow couples to be together after a dementia diagnosis.

The display showcased a stunning array of designs worn by some of Catherine Walker’s most notable clientele, as well as styles from the a/w 2017 collection. The pieces chosen for display were curated by Said Cyrus, the label’s co-founder and Head of Design.

Courtesy Catherine Walker & Co. (Click photo to visit the site.)

More from Caroline Leaper’s story in The Telegraph:

For Cyrus, the process of exploring the brand’s 400-piece archive was cathartic. His wife, Catherine Walker, died of cancer in 2010, so exhibiting their life’s work offered a chance to remember the highlights and celebrate their enduring success.

A pencil sketch by Said Cyrus of his late wife.

Catherine Walker Instagram (click photo to visit Instagram feed)

In her People story, Monique Jessen writes about an iconic gown that was part of the exhibit.

One of the outfits, a stunning white lace halter-style evening dress with embroidered pearls, sequins and crystals worn by the princess to a gala in Washington in 1996, is displayed for the first time. Alongside it sits a heartfelt note of praise from the then recently-divorced Diana.

Courtesy Catherine Walker & Co. (click photo to visit website)

A closer look, with thanks to People’s Simon Perry for the photo of the note he shared on Twitter.

A portion of the note reads:

“I was so proud and felt very confident to stride out there and deliver my first speech since the divorce,” the letter reads. “The compliments about your design and expertise would have made your ears burn.”

This gives a better view of some of the detail work on the gown

Courtesy Catherine Walker & Co. (Click photo to visit the site.)

Two designs worn by the Duchess similar to styles made for the Duchess were included in the exhibit. (See update below.)

UPDATED: The pieces shown in the exhibit are not Kate’s garments as I thought. With a big ‘thank you’ to Scarfie1 on Twitter for the input, the two styles seen in the next photo may be showroom samples, or they were created for another purpose, but they are not the specific pieces Kate has worn.

On the left, you see a Melrose coatdress similar to the one worn in Ypres, Belgium this July for events commemorating the Battle of Passchendaele Centenary. On the right, a coatdress very much like that worn in June 2016 for the National Service of Thanksgiving marking the Queen’s 90th birthday.

Courtesy Catherine Walker & Co. (click photo to visit website)

The Melrose is crafted from Venetian wool embellished with hand appliquéd corded lace. 

Another view.

The soft blue style has lines similar to the Melrose. 

As noted in our original post, the piece combines elements from multiple Catherine Walker designs. Below left, the Rosa Coatdress; in the center, the Melrose Coatdress, and Kate in the finished design.

Here is a good closeup showing the lace.

To the best of my knowledge, this is the only time any of the Duchess’s clothing has been publicly exhibited, other than her wedding dress in 2011. Again, thank you to Scarfie for pointing out the differences between the styles shown in the exhibit and those made for Kate.

Some of the designs from this fall’s collection that were on display: the Collette flannel coat, the Violeta jacket and matching dress, and the Lilliane suit.  For anyone interested in acquiring a Catherine Walker design, the company offers an e-couture service for those unable to visit the studio in person.  

Kate’s coat for the Festival of Remembrance was modeled after another fall design, the ‘Caressa’ jacket.

It looks like it was an outstanding exhibit. This is a label I believe we will continue to see the Duchess wear for years and years.


Our other topic today: the 2018 What Kate Wore calendar, created in partnership with Royal Photographer Mark Stewart (you may know him as Regal Eyes on Twitter). This year’s calendar is different from those done in previous years when we focused primarily on recent photographs. When first chatting with Mark about the 2018 calendar he asked what we thought of dedicating each month to a specific year he has been photographing Kate. That sounded like a simply brilliant idea, so Mark commenced going through his archives, all the way back to 2005.

Because he has now been chronicling Kate for 13 years, we combined two years (2005 & 2006) for the month of January (shown above). Below, October showcases pictures from 2015.    

You will see some of Kate’s most iconic looks on the calendar, as well as more recent photos. This is the December page with images from 2017.  

As always, we include our Many Faces of Kate page along with all the info on what Kate wore.   

The calendar measures roughly 11″ by 16″ when open and hanging on your wall. The 2018 version was really a joy to put together because of Mark’s incredible archive of Kate photographs. I knew he had been photographing Kate for years, but didn’t fully realize the breadth of his work. I asked Mark if he realized what Kate’s role would be back in those early years.

When I first photographed Kate in 2005, little did I know that it was the to be start of documenting the fashion evolution of our future Queen.”

The calendar is available in limited quantities here.


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Saturday 9th of December 2017

Diana! Her smile is melting my heart! Wonderful to see Kate follow in her footsteps!


Tuesday 5th of December 2017

What a fascinating read. I have admired Catherine Walker since Diana's days.

This is why we come here! I really enjoy these fashion retrospectives, learning about couture, sartorial artistry, beautiful clothes, and the talented people who design them.

I'd love to see the Duchess wearing a CW evening gown.

Thanks for an educational and informative post.


Tuesday 5th of December 2017

Hi. So excited about the beautiful 2018 Calendar. Looking forward to receiving it.


Tuesday 5th of December 2017

The Catherine Walker exhibition looks fascinating, I treasure the book she produced about Diana's outfits following the Princesses death. I could spend forever working out the differences between CJ originals and the costs as worn by Kate, they're all more than acceptable.

Great news that we have another calendar. Have to confess to being a teensy bit disappointed there aren't more 2017 pics as I was so fond of the German tour outfits.

But Mark Stewart photos are always toppers and this still looks to be a worthy addition to the collection. They are such a handy guide to Kate's choices.

Looking forward to tomorrow.


Tuesday 5th of December 2017

Catherine Walker exhibit looks really interesting. Her evening gowns look gorgeous, especially the blue/black one in between the two coatdresses that Kate "almost" wore (lol.) Would love to see Kate in some of the evening looks; has she ever worn CW for evening?


Tuesday 5th of December 2017

That is an excellent question. I don't believe she has ever worn a Catherine Walker gown, nor a semi-formal style, by the company. That would be fun to see. :)

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