Tulle dresses, Fair Isle cardigans and leopard print make for an authentic collection at Molly Goddard
Molly Goddard’s first ever show was a DIY affair. Fresh out of St. Martins, she hired a church hall, threw a party, got her friends to model and invited some press. Her goal was simply to get a job. That, you’ll know by now, didn’t go to plan. Orders from retailers promptly followed. She had accidentally started her own brand, one which is today a very London label with major global clout.
It was those early days Goddard was thinking about for AW23, which she started working on in the St. Martins library. ‘Being back at the school I left in 2012 made me think about what I was trying to achieve when I started my brand,’ she says. ‘It was a time when working in fashion, to me, involved making clothes on my own and trying to get stockists. Now, working in fashion involves many things I wasn’t expecting—events, award ceremonies, promotion, social media—it was nice to think about the simplicity of when I started and the passion that spurred on the work at the beginning’.
Returning to her origins story, Goddard decamped from the spacious Seymour Leisure Centre where she usually shows, to her own studio in east London. The intimacy of that functional space provided the perfect setting for a triumphant collection that wasn’t about ‘drama or optics, but wearability and the joy of dressing’.
When she wants, Goddard can do optics supremely well. Her explosive tulle dresses are major wow pieces, so much so that the rest of her rounded collections – the great knits, the cute tops, the cool-girl shoes – can sometimes find themselves erroneously overlooked.
This season, she dialled it right back into a quieter proposition, one she wanted to feel ‘nostalgic, familiar, grown up, wearable, streamlined’. Nostalgia meant picking from a buffet of references, from the looks she had coveted in fashion magazines to the ones she had actually worn as a kid in west London (leopard print, for instance, a nod to the jeans she’d bought from Gap Kids). Her own archive too was an inspiration, with ideas refined and reworked.
Everything had an instinctive frankness to it. There was authenticity, warmth and ease in the proposition: the neat little cardis with ribbon trimmed skirts, the dove grey dresses with flat boots and an Argyle knit thrown over the crook of the arm, the mannish overcoats sitting atop pretty dresses.
For the die-hard Goddardites, tulle was given a lo-fi spin, spliced into dresses or in narrower silhouettes. That didn’t diminish their power to wow. This was a Goddard acoustic gig. And in acoustic mode, her headliner star quality was only amplified.