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Cynthia Grafton-Holt

Epitome of British Bespoke Craftsmanship

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My Inspiration

Born and raised in a small town in the West Midlands.  I, am the eldest child of Jamaican parents who arrived in the UK in 1960. Their generation, now renown as the ‘Windrush generation’ invited by the British Government to start a new life in post war Britain. Their story is one that deserves to be told on a whole other day, but for now, their goal was to find work and build a better life for themselves.

It was a very humble beginning that I recall quite vividly.  From the tender age of six, I was already looking forward to Saturday night.  This was party night, and everyone in the community turned out to party.  The women would dress like Hollywood starlets without a care in the world.  They were the true masters of innovative fashion on a budget.  They couldn’t afford designer labels or highbrow clothes on their meagre factory wage; every penny they earned went towards raising the family here, and any surplus cash was sent for those who were left ‘back home’.

Looking back fondly, they were the ‘Queens of Crinoline’.  Their gowns & frocks were beyond gorgeous with their nipped waistlines, volumious skirts and kitten heels.  They were ingenious at recreating copies of Dior and English royalty.  If Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret, or Shirley Bassey wore it, so would they. 


Their creativity and inventiveness taught me the importance of honouring my heritage; through their ability to rework entirely their gowns, wasting nothing, to make their spending go further.  They 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 almost 30 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 - whereby, I can draw on my experience and combine highly specialised techniques to ensure their designs are perfectly fitted upon arrival.  

Working with the Biggest Names in the Fashion Industry

Fashion is an exceptionally tough industry to survive, not least because it moves so quickly but,  unforgiving if you don’t have what it takes.  That training and experience alone has been priceless for my work 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 talent from minority artist and, to provide an equal platform with which to showcase their work unto the world stage; as that is ultimately where true recognition and acceptance within the arts 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 discreet internal corsetry to support, redefine the bust and cinch the waistline, completely obliterating the need for additional foundations.

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

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



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. 

Junebug Weddings

"14 Wedding dress designers to have in your radar"




11 Black wedding dress designers you should know about. 

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