Updated: May 12
The vision of this elegant and romantic bridal shoot is to provide inspiration for the Fine Art appreciating bride.
This was no ordinary styled shoot, but a shoot that set out to capture the very essence of what it is to have a considered and well thought out wedding day. One of the key messages behind the concept was the issue of creating a sustainable, environmentally friendly and conscious approach towards sourcing and creating objects of beauty that surpass the lifespan of frivolous fashion to embrace timelessness with a contemporary aesthetics.
With the issue of sustainability, consciousness and eco-friendly weddings growing in popularity, my approach to dressing brides for their big day has always been to consider the longer term benefits and responsibility of creating designs that are lasting and re-wearable past the event; designs to be appreciated in a whole new way and integrated into an existing wardrobe rather than relegated to the box in the attic -never to be seen again. In so many ways, it is perfectly practical to design strikingly elegant pieces that are lush and sophisticated, yet can be readily restyled with just a little bit of thought and careful consideration.
“The dresses, and my imagination of how individual brides would wear them, suggested that a range of different looks and stories would be required on the day. This was a great chance for me to showcase my designs too by capturing the bride in a ‘wedding morning’ setting, all the way through to the ceremony, the dinner and the first dance.”
Whilst the importance of environmental issues was a key factor, so too was the importance and preservation of craftsmanship.
The focus and choice of location for the shoot was initially centered around the black marbled staircase at Carlton House Terrace in central London. From the gilded high ceilings, the ornate gold paneling and the detailed marbled staircase, provided so much more scope than could ever be imagined in any other setting into which we would have been allowed access; and which provided the perfect backdrop for my collection of handcrafted bespoke wedding dresses. With so much time invested in crafting the bridal gowns, this could be no ordinary styled shoot.
The Swan Lake Love Story
The Swan Lake story of timelessness, love, magic and tragedy, though created as a fantasy is so pivotal to the journey behind my collection, bringing together harmoniously years of rejection and disappointment, poured into a passionate collection of artistically created bespoke pieces.
Princess Odette, the swan princess, who spends her days swimming on a lake of her tears and her nights in her human form.
I feel very deeply connected to the burden of Princess Odette’s torment. Of not being unable to fulfil her natural ability as a woman, mirroring somewhat my struggle and over the years as a wedding dress designer. The frustration of seeing works of art that I have created, worn by royalty and at numerous red-carpet events throughout the world, yet receiving no recognition or credit, has haunted me for years.
A New Representation of Beauty
The design of the dresses in this collection have been carefully and thoughtfully crafted to represent the transformational nature of a woman. From the routineness of everyday life into the epitome of refined elegance and beauty fit for a queen.
The fabrics used are sheer and light yet not too revealing with surface embellishment that add depth and movement to mirror the graceful flutter of the swan feathers or the gentle moonlight glistening upon the lake at midnight and reflected in the pearls and crystals that are gently scattered across the surface of the silk coat.
The gentle cluster and movement of feather work adorning the waistline, is to mimic the multi- layered depths of our personalities and voices in our own heads as we navigate between comfort and fashion beauty on the wedding day.
Beneath the surface of the outer fabric of a Cynthia Grafton-Holt Couture wedding dress, is where the true magic begins. Where the design skills and tutorship in tailoring are put to work creating a ‘built in’ corset framework designed to support the bust and reduce the waist by up to two inches. A hidden internal corset is the secret ‘best friend’ of every bride ensuring that she looks good in every photograph recorded from beginning of the day up until the last dance. And last, but not least, is the advantage of the internal corset with built in bra cups, cancelling the need to find the perfect bra to wear under the wedding dress.
PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEO: @jacob_and_pauline ⠀
CREATIVE DIRECTION, PLANNING & STYLING: @teastyle_weddings⠀
BRIDAL GOWNS & BUDOIR GOWN: @CynthiaGraftonHolt
FLOWER DESIGN: @bloominghaus
BRIDAL JEWELLERY: @hermioneharbutt
ENGAGEMENT RING: @lilyarkwrightuk
BUDOIR LINGERIE: @fleurofengland
BRIDAL SHOES: @freyaroselondon
GROOM’S ATTIRE: @mossbros
FURNITURE & TABLEWARE: @classiccrockery
MODELS: @ishikasharma & @tomking1989
MARKETING STRATEGIST AND PROFESSIONAL WRITING CONSULTANT: @thecopywordshop