Queen Karen flies the flag for a very special project

Karen Walker at Buckingham Palace – we knew this day would come.

With sustainability, heritage and quality being so prevalent in modern minds, it was amazing to see our own Karen Walker representing New Zealand at the launch of a special initiative at no other than Buckingham Palace this week.

For the first time, the 53 countries of the Commonwealth came together to showcase design and craft at The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange. Support from heavyweights such as the British Fashion Council and matchesfashion.com mean that the event’s celebration of the talent, power and potential of artisans is a real, sit-up-and-take-notice thing, with Walker’s commentary signalling that it’s been a particularly significant project for her.

Other designers who took part included Stella McCartney and Burberry for the United Kingdom, and the reception was hosted by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Sophie, Countess of Wessex. Walker said of the experience that “This collaboration is one of my career highlights and I’m so proud to have represented New Zealand and worked with Tukua’s beautiful tivaivai skills in this way.”

Walker worked with a New Zealand-based collective of Cook Islands craftswomen- together they created a gown that featured traditional tivaivai embroidery, paired with Walker’s modern aesthetic. Walker and 73-year-old Māmā Tukua Turia, the lead artisan from the Kūki ‘Airani Creative Māmās were in attendance at Buckingham Palace as their collaboration was unveiled amongst 30 other dresses on the night.

Walker said of the experience that “This collaboration is one of my career highlights and I’m so proud to have represented New Zealand and worked with Tukua’s beautiful tivaivai skills in this way.” Other designers chosen for the project included Stella McCartney and Burberry for the United Kingdom and the reception was hosted by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Sophie, Countess of Wessex.