Dressing a Tudor Queen for show in Palace Gallery

After a chaotic week of frantic sewing, planning and packing and a dizzy drive in a small white van across London, Derry girl Aileen Faller found herself in possibly the most famous residence in the UK - Buckingham Palace.

Friday, 31st May 2013, 7:53 am
Aileen Faller, from Londonderry, pictured right, a Fasion Design and Interpretation student in London, with her Catherine Parr dress, modelled by Ella Clayton-Bell.

She was one of a number of second and third year costume design and interpretation students from Wimbledon College of Art to work with curator Anna Reynolds at The Queen’s Gallery, where they showcased their costumes as part of the ‘In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion’ exhibition. It saw Aileen’s own masterpiece on show alongside over 60 paintings, drawings, jewellery, garments, accessories and armour. The exhibition, which is open until October.

Aileen had to research Tudor Queen Catherine Parr, King Henry VIII’s last wife, and worked for six months to perfect the design, source all the materials and then hand sew the gown.

The culmination was last weekend, when Aileen’s sumptuous gown proved a huge draw: “It was chaotic in the week leading up to the show on Saturday. We had two shows on the day. The designers were all back stage so I could not see anybody, but we came out at the end and I saw mum [Finola] and my sister Una then. My costume was one of the biggest and heaviest and I chose model Ella Clayton-Bell because she looks so like Catherine Parr. It was just unbelievable. It was very surreal and it was over so quickly. I cannot believe it is all over.

“My costume was the first thing people saw when they came in and Ella had her photograph taken over 200 times in the first hour. People were coming over to her and asking her about the dress and lifting it up to look at the skirts,” said Aileen, who has her heart set on a career in film costume design.