Epitome of British Bespoke Design
I’m from a small town in the West Midlands where I was born. My parents arrived in the UK in the 1960's, part of the ‘Windrush generation’ who were invited to come to Britain where they could find work and build a better life for themselves.
Growing up, I remember quite vividly how Saturday night was party night. Where the women would dress like they hadn’t a care in the world. They were the true masters of innovation and fashion on a budget. They couldn’t afford designer labels. They worked in the local factories and every penny went towards raising family in the UK and sending money for those who were left ‘back home’.
Looking back fondly, I’d have to rename them the true ‘Queens of Crinoline’. Their gowns & frocks were beyond gorgeous. They were ingenious at recreating copies of Dior and English royalty. If the Queen, Princess Margaret, or Shirley Bassey wore it, so would they. I loved their inventiveness and how they would rework their gowns to make their spending go further. The would rip the petticoats from old dresses into strips to use for ruffling on a new design… there was nothing that couldn’t be done. Even marbles would be covered with fabric and used as glass buttons and dresses weren’t abandoned but handed down and passed on with pride. It didn’t matter who you were, or what size you were – none of that mattered. What was important, was the fact that they could live their best dream life, irrespective of anything else. These were the women who could make even ugly look beautiful.
Training and Skills
I studied the art of Bespoke Tailoring at the London College of Fashion before going on to work in the fashion industry for brands such as Mulberry, the late Alexander McQueen, Pronovias, Suzanne Neville, Emilia Wickstead, Giles Deacon, Roland Mouret, Victoria Beckham, Karen Millen, Mathew Williamson, Nicole Farhi, etc, etc.. My full list is too numerous to mention.
Working in the fashion industry for many years for high-end designers enabled me to master the skills required to create high-quality garments from luxury fabrics. And that experience means that I am one a few highly skilled London Wedding Dressmakers & Designers who can achieve impeccably fitted gowns with appropriate balance and style for every woman.
Working with the Biggest Names in the Fashion Industry
I have loved every single minute of my journey. And, this is a tough industry to survive in and totally unforgiving if you don’t have what it takes.
From my time working with some of the most talented Fashion Designers in the business and also from teaching others, I fully appreciate why the designer, as visionary, must be applauded for their work. But equally saddened at how slow the industry has been to recognize the work of the skills that enable the designer's vision to arrive on a stage; as that is ultimately where the true art lies.
Handcrafting bespoke gowns for high profile clients is an art form. My most favored skill (that my clients benefit from), is my ability to create discreet internal corsetry that is supportive, redefines the waistline, and elongates the body.
My most famous names? Jennifer Lopez, Reese Witherspoon, Rosamund Pike, Linda Evangelista. And of course a few Russian oligarchs whilst working for Ralph and Russo – but I never even got to see those as they have whisked away the moment they are finished.
I am a member of the Guild of Master Craftsman. A body whose work it is to enable the public to distinguish the work of a qualified craftsman from those who are not.
As Featured in...
Grace Ormonde Weddings
Top Black luxury wedding professional for high end celebrations.
The Knot Magazine
Cynthia Grafton-Holt is among the leading wedding dress designers.
TWIA 2021 Judge
Cynthia is one of our most highly regarded judges and brings to the panel years of professionalism and experience.
"14 Wedding dress designers to have in your radar"
11 Black wedding dress designers you should know about.