Molly Goddard: Cathy Earnshaw in taffeta in Bethnal Green
One true test of any great artist, or significant designer, is whether or not they have an identifiable signature style. One of many reasons that Molly Goddard has become one of the most important creators in UK fashion, and a star event at London Fashion Week.
For few designers anywhere today have such an instantly detectable DNA and style as Goddard. She showed that right from the first look in the video she displayed on Saturday evening, the second day of London Fashion Week.
A dense cumulus of puckered fiery red and black organza shaped into a modernist crinoline and worn over golden Pinball Wizard platforms. If you spotted the look 1,000 yards away on a busy avenue, it would still trumpet Goddard.
Not that Molly wasn’t afraid to break new ground – like her posh punk version of Clan Stewart tartan in a dressing gown coat, worn with varsity scarf and busy gal satchel.
And she managed to powerfully inject freshness into her oeuvre with several guys’ outfits in a coed video – like a combo of tartan kilt, grandpa Fair Isle sweater and a Melton Mowbray hacking jacket – again worn with platforms.
Later she mixed together the Gilbert O’Sullivan knits with chiffon party dresses in another clever combo. And, Molly also managed to be highly commercial with uber-ladylike double-breasted felted woolen coats in deep sherbet tones.
Like many in lockdown over these past 12 months, Goddard retreated to her own book shelves for inspiration – mingling in elements of Tina Barney’s Europeans, David Douglas Duncan’s Goodbye Picasso and Terence Conran interiors, in a panorama that included "archive folders of photocopied research, which I have compiled over the past 15 years or so."
The result was a first-rate collection, where the heart of the matter were a series of beautiful prom dresses in marvelous shades of marbled taffeta, woven using 100% recycled yarn, or bright tangerine or sea green silks. Cut and ruched with great imagination and featuring ideally placed spiky bows and rough knots, they immediately stated groovy Goddard at her best.
That said, Goddard, like quite a few very talented designers, still has not got the virtual format right. This was a rather lame video of models merging from behind a dull red curtain to walk individually around a yellow space, which turned out to be her studio in Bethnal Green.
"I like the consistency of showing in the same space, almost like a Parisian salon show, but wanted to make the space warm and glowing gold. Wintry but optimistic," argued Goddard.
However, even given the restrictions of the pandemic, this overly simple formula undersold the collection.
A small quibble, however, given just how pretty, optimistic and flattering this collection and all these clothes were. Plus, the hair styles had a suitably offbeat and wild Wuthering Heights mood, combined with doll-like peachy makeup. All told, a great fashion statement by Goddard, a designer who builds momentum, unleashes ideas and trends, and enhances her reputation with every show.
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