I love to see a designer living and breathing their vision. Dressed head-to-toe in a total look – red russet smocked dress and salmon pink ponyskin clogs, courtesy of her label's new collaboration with Penelope Chilvers - Goddard continues to champion her own pieces. It's a marked contrast to designers who embrace the creative anonymity of a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Designers such as Molly are definitely designing for themselves, and there's nothing wrong with that. It's like a calling into a world which you want you to be part of - an invitation from a coveted primary school friend, for tea at her house. 'Please mum, can I go? She has the best dressing up box!'
Chatting with the designer, she has a real desire this season to create some very wearable pieces – as well as some very unwearable pieces. The deliberate continuum towards the gloriously fantastical alongside the more practical, creates a dualistic approach, which provides depth to the offering. Moving slightly away from her beloved tulle, she has continued her move towards cotton and polyester mixes - this season, in creams and tartan. The introduction of separates saw knickerbockers teamed with tartan corsets, which were layered over long sleeved tees. Using the softer technique of shirring instead of straight smocking, Goddard created a snug and stretchy playsuit. T-shirt illustrations were grungy great, and were also something new for the season – she and her sister had done the drawings.
It all very much had an Angela from My So Called Life, coming of age vibe. That swoon-tastic first episode where she dyes her hair red, knocks on the door of another reference that is present in Goddard’s work: the Pre-Raphaelite sisterhood. (All those paintbrushes and pens last season). Molly Goddard joins Grace Coddington as being a modern day red haired beauty that inadvertently engages with art’s 19th century poster girls. The volumes tumbled from the bust, in the Empire / Regency style. A corset layered over a tee, was only tied at the bust, and left undone to omit the waist once more.
Green was a prominent colour for the collection, there was a Kermit coloured frothy pannier dress, a peppermint party dress – and a full length eau de nil transparent dress, which evoked the watery spirit of Ophelia. Resplendent with delicate floral embroidery, it was like the model had rolled around in a meadow – or the riverbanks of Camelot. Daydreams of flora climbing up a garden wall played out, as the theme played out via leggings, which peeped below mid calf skirts.
The presentation had a Meadham Kirchhoff tableau / J.W. Anderson Grimm fairytale feel – and I think Goddard would be wise to find her own path away from their style of storytelling. The presentation took inspiration from 'a quintessentially English summer' where young girls might find themselves working in a British sandwich factory. The fashion pack loves an imaginative presentation, but this was the wrong side of sugar sweet sinister. It was like the girls were working in some hellish toy factory – clogs and party dresses lent a Hans Christian Anderson vibe. Standing under hot lights, they were languidly doing the same thing over and over again. It said on the press release that the girls are set to work in a production line, “with cheerful abandon”. Many looked miserable. The dark kohl eyes and deliberately gelled lank hair didn’t help.
If you google sandwich factory, you’ll see there is a place up north that made 3 million sandwiches last year – by hand. I don’t think people – or university students during the summer months – should have to do these kinds of jobs. I am sure that was the point they were making. One model fainted whilst I was there, so they invited all the girls to sit down and have a glass of water. I revelled in seeing one girl, who quite frankly had enough, kick back her ponyskin boots - and take an #overit lie down.