Catherine Walker (fashion designer) – Wikipedia

British fashion designer

Catherine Walker (27 June 1945 – 23 September 2010) was a French-born fashion designer based in London. Born Catherine Marguerite Marie-Therese Baheux in Calais, France, Walker is known for having supplied over a thousand garments for Diana, Princess of Wales.

Life and career[edit]

Walker studied Aesthetics and Philosophy at the universities of Lille and Aix-en-Provence[1] and achieved a master’s degree. While studying for a PhD she moved to London and lived in Earl’s Court.[1] She became a permanent resident after marrying solicitor John Walker in 1970.[1] The couple had two daughters. In 1975 John Walker died while on holiday in France.[1] Her second husband was Said Cyrus from Iran, a lecturer at the Chelsea School of Art who also became her business partner.[1]

She began her life in fashion selling children’s clothes. She later moved into designing for women, specialising in high-end evening dresses, occasionwear and wedding gowns. In 1976 she set up her own company The Chelsea Design Company in Sydney Street, Chelsea.[1] In 1991, Walker was awarded Designer of the Year for Glamour and in 1990 Designer of the Year for Couture at the British Fashion Awards. Walker was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1995. She became a founding sponsor of Breast Cancer Haven.[1]


Catherine Walker opened her business in 1977 in Sydney Street, London. She was a successful couturiere for over 30 years. Walker designed two seasonal collections per year, as well as wedding gowns and created a range of skincare products. Following her death, her husband Said Cyrus took over the business as head designer. He continues to run it with the same philosophy, focusing on bespoke garments for clients and eschewing runway shows, large marketing campaigns, and the wholesale trade.[2]

Notable clients[edit]

Diana, Princess of Wales[edit]

Catherine Walker became one of the Princess of Wales’ favourite designers. Her professional relationship with Diana began three months after Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles in 1981, and lasted until Diana’s death sixteen years later, during which time Walker provided the Princess with many of her most iconic garments.[3]

Prince William[edit]

Prince William had a few coats made by Catherine Walker as a child.[4]

Lady Helen Taylor[edit]

The Duke of Kent’s daughter, Lady Helen Taylor (née Windsor), wore a Catherine Walker design for her 1992 wedding to Tim Taylor.[5]

Duchess of Kent[edit]

Katharine, Duchess of Kent has worn a Catherine Walker dress to William, Prince of Wales wedding in 2011[6]

Middleton family[edit]

Walker’s designs are also chosen by Diana’s daughter-in-law, Catherine, Princess of Wales. Catherine Walker has become one of the Princess of Wales favourite designers and she chooses to wear the designer’s creations for an important events such as royal tours abroad.[7]

Carole Middleton also has worn Catherine Walker for numerous public occasions.[8][9][10]

Mette-Marit, Crown Princess of Norway[edit]

Mette-Marit, Crown Princess of Norway has been seen wearing a classic Catherine Walker coatdress in red during a Nobel Peace price ceremony [11]

Lady Gabriella Kingston[edit]

Lady Gabriella Kingston is often seen wearing Catherine Walker to most of the official Royal events.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19]

Lady Frederick Windsor[edit]

Also knows as Sophie Winkleman, she has worn Catherine Walker to Princess Eugenie’s wedding in 2018.[20] Wimbledon is one of the occasions where Sophie turns to Catherine Walker for her outfits also.[21]

Sophie, Countess of Wessex[edit]

Sophie has been wearing Catherine Walker garments to some official Royal events.[22][23]

Marie Chevallier[edit]

Marie Chevallier – wife of Louis Robert Paul Ducruet (son of Princess Stéphanie of Monaco and Daniel Ducruet), has chosen a Catherine Walker coatdress to attend a mass at Monaco Cathedral during the celebrations marking Monaco’s National Day in Monaco, on November 19, 2019.[24]

Dame Judith Olivia Dench[edit]

Judi Dench has worn a bespoke Catherine Walker piece for British Vogue -Ask a legend interview 2020.[25]

J.K. Rowling[edit]

J.K. Rowling has worn Paddington coatdress to receive a Companion of Honour in 2017.[26]

Countess De La Warr[edit]

Anne, Countess De La Warr attended Royal Ascot, 14 June 2011wearing a classic Catherine Walker coatdress[27]

Lady Nicholas Windsor[edit]

Lady Nicholas Windsor has worn a pale pink Catherine walker suit for Catherine, Princess of Wales and Prince of Wales wedding in 2011.[28]

Walker died on September 23, 2010 in a hospital after being found unconscious by a neighbour at her home Sussex, England.[29] She had suffered breast cancer and was a founding Sponsor of the charity called “Breast Cancer Haven”.[30][31] Catherine Walker is survived by her second husband Said Ismael Cyrus and her two daughters, Naomi and Marianne, from her first marriage.[32][33]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g “Catherine Walker”. London: September 26, 2010.
  2. ^ “Kate Middleton’s pretty blue suit has revived interest in a quiet fashion label favored by Princess Diana”. 19 October 2016.
  3. ^ “Princess Diana’s changing fashion style explored in exhibition”. BBC News. 19 February 2017. Archived from the original on 12 March 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  4. ^ “Look back at the royal family’s most stylish Easter fashion moments”. The Telegraph. Retrieved 2023-02-06.
  5. ^ ‘Iconic royal wedding gowns”. Harpers Bazaar.
  6. ^ “It’s Red Catherine Walker & Gina Foster for the Duchess of Cambridge as the Royal Tour Officially Begins UPDATED – What Kate Wore”. Retrieved 2023-02-06.
  7. ^ “Prince William and Kate Middleton’s royal tour: day three as it happened”. The Daily Telegraph. London. 2 July 2011.
  8. ^ Adamiyatt, Roxanne (2022-07-05). “Carole Middleton Looks Lovely in a Floral Dress at Wimbledon”. Town & Country. Retrieved 2023-02-04.
  9. ^ “Carole Middleton’s favourite brand Catherine Walker share mother of the bride and groom fashion tips”. HELLO!. 2019-04-08. Retrieved 2023-02-04.
  10. ^ Uk, Elle (2011-04-29). “The Royal Wedding”. ELLE. Retrieved 2023-02-04.
  11. ^ “The 2022 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo was attended by Norwegian royals”. Newmyroyals & Hollywood Fashion. Retrieved 2023-02-04.
  12. ^ “The catalogue of royal fashion — Lady Gabriella Kingston  ||  Catherine Walker”. Retrieved 2023-02-04.
  13. ^ “Lady Gabriella Windsor Arrives At The Wedding Of Lady Rose Windsor,…” Getty Images. Retrieved 2023-02-04.
  14. ^ “Lady Gabriella Windsor and Lady Sarah Chatto during Trooping the…” Getty Images. Retrieved 2023-02-04.
  15. ^ “Lady Gabriella Windsor during the Trooping the Colour, this year…” Getty Images. Retrieved 2023-02-04.
  16. ^ “Son and daughter to Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, Lord…” Getty Images. Retrieved 2023-02-04.
  17. ^ “Gabriella Windsor Attending The Memorial Service For Isabella Blow At…” Getty Images. Retrieved 2023-02-04.
  18. ^ “Lady Gabriella Attends National Service of Thanksgiving for Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee”. Royal Portraits Gallery. Retrieved 2023-02-04.
  19. ^ “”. Twitter. Retrieved 2023-02-04.
  20. ^ “Catherine Walker & Co on Instagram: “Beautiful mother and daughter Lady Frederick Windsor and Maud looking stunning in the mint green Biella coatdress and matching hat with tonal feathers #beautiful #mother #daughter #ladyfrederickwindsor #royalwedding #mint #green #biella #coatdress #hat #feathers #luxury #design #fabrics #fashion #style #couturemillinery #tailoring #catherinewalker #couture #atelier #chelsea #london”. Instagram. Retrieved 2023-02-06.
  21. ^ Cartwright, Gemma (2019-07-22). “Long Before Meghan Markle Became a Duchess, Another Stylish Actress Joined the Royal Family”. POPSUGAR Fashion. Retrieved 2023-02-06.
  22. ^ Newton, Jennifer (2022-11-14). “Sophie recycles elegant coat worn by Lady Louise during moving Remembrance Day”. mirror. Retrieved 2023-02-04.
  23. ^ “The Earl and Countess of Wessex visit to Tallinn, Estonia”. Newmyroyals & Hollywood Fashion. Retrieved 2023-02-04.
  24. ^ “Monaco’s next generation royals step to the fore with high fashion display”. independent. Retrieved 2023-02-04.
  25. ^ Judi Dench Answers Questions From 18 Of Her Most Famous Fans | Ask A Legend | British Vogue, retrieved 2023-02-04
  26. ^ Gould, Amy (2017-12-13). “J.K. Rowling receives Companion of Honour”. J.K. Rowling. Retrieved 2023-02-04.
  27. ^ “Racehorse owner/breeder Anne, Countess De La Warr at Royal Ascot,…” Getty Images. Retrieved 2023-02-04.
  28. ^ Hats, Royal (2015-04-30). “British Royal Wedding Four Years On: The Kent Family”. Royal Hats. Retrieved 2023-03-24.
  29. ^ “Questions remain over the death of Princess Diana’s fashion designer – Rye and Battle Observer”. Archived from the original on 2018-05-23.
  30. ^ Guardian 26 Sept 2010
  31. ^ “Breast Cancer Haven | Pages | Breast Cancer Haven service locations”. Archived from the original on 2018-05-02. Retrieved 2018-05-01.
  32. ^ “Catherine Walker”.
  33. ^ “Obituary: Catherine Walker, couturier to Princess Diana”. 2 October 2010.

External links[edit]