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Cynthia Grafton-Holt

Epitome of British Bespoke Design 

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My Inspiration

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 

Classically trained in 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..  The entire list of names is too numerous to mention.

 

Working in high end fashion for over 25 years has enabled me to master the skills required to create luxuriously detailed garments using the finest fabrics from across the globe. 

 

By combining traditional couture techniques with an innovative approach to modern design, my signature style is contemporary, timeless elegance - a style that continually  sets my work apart from the crowd.

 

The experience gained when making red carpet couture gowns for famous clients across the globe is an added specialism that I now offer to brides across the world - who I am able to work with using highly specialised techniques tot ensure their designs are perfectly fitted upon arrival.

 

 

  

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Working with the Biggest Names in the Fashion Industry

Fashion is an exceptionally tough industry to survive in and totally unforgiving if you don’t have what it takes.  That training and experience has been priceless for the work that I do now and I wouldnt change a moment of it.

 

From my time working with some of the most talented Fashion Designers in the business and also during my career as a fashion lecturer, I fully appreciate why the designer, as visionary, must be applauded for their work.  On the other hand, I'm saddened at how slow the industry has been to recognize the talent behind the big names who enable their work 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 appreciation of the female forms and its needs.  I can fashion a discreet internal corsetry to support, redefine the bust and waistline,elongate the body,obliterating the need for additional foundations.

Famous names? Jennifer Lopez, Reese Witherspoon, Rosamund Pike, Linda Evangelista. And of course Russian oligarchs whilst working for Ralph and Russo – most of which I never even got to see due to protocols

Underpinning my work is my membership to the Guild of Master Craftsman.  A professional body whose work is to enable the public to distinguish the work of a qualified craftsman from others.

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As Featured in...

Grace Ormonde Weddings
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Top Black luxury wedding professional for high end celebrations.

The Knot Magazine
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Cynthia Grafton-Holt is among the leading wedding dress designers. 

TWIA 2021 Judge
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Cynthia is one of our most highly regarded judges and brings to the panel years of professionalism and experience. 

Junebug Weddings
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"14 Wedding dress designers to have in your radar"

Brides

www. brides.com

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11 Black wedding dress designers you should know about. 

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