Designer Molly Goddard’s eponymous brand is just five years old. But despite its relatively short time on the London Fashion Week schedule, it has received a global cult following, adored for its subversive approach to girlish codes. Without infantilising her woman, Goddard celebrates smock dresses and tea-party frocks, blowing up their proportions to surreal effect. She injects mountains of tulle – one of the label’s signature fabrics – with shades you might find in a packet of jelly beans.
If proof were needed of the very grown-up edge to Goddard’s work, you only have to look to the women who wear it – the likes of fashion-conscious assassin Villanelle, who sported one of the designer’s creations in the hit TV series Killing Eve, and former AnOther Magazine cover star Rihanna, who frequently wears Goddard’s dresses on the red carpet.
On Saturday, Molly Goddard staged her Spring/Summer 2020 show at Marylebone’s Seymour Leisure Centre – a collection that has been hailed as the designer’s most comprehensive to date. Here, we speak with five women about why they love wearing her clothes.
Farshid Moussavi OBE RA, architect, educator, and author
“I came across Molly Goddard’s work shortly after her first collection. It struck me for its combination of beauty and strength. I love the way she turns tulle, which is an ordinarily lightweight material, into a structure and form that is bold yet maintains its lightness. I also think it is wonderful that tulle carries her work through day and night, defying traditional ideas of what is daywear and is eveningwear.”
Lynn Yaeger, fashion journalist
“I was shopping at Dover Street Market in New York a few years ago, and a sales person said: ‘Lynn, we have something new you will really like!’ It was an Alice-blue smocked dress from Molly’s first collection, and I bought it on the spot. Somehow word got back to Molly, and the next thing you know, we were heading off to Alfie’s Antiques Market in London together. This was the first of what would become many adventures we have shared. I love Molly – not just the clothes but the woman! She is a true original.”
Melanie Xu, collector and writer
“The first Molly Goddard piece I bought was from her Spring/Summer 2015 collection at Dover Street Market. It was a grey tulle manifestation of my childhood fantasies – what my younger self imagined I could be wearing in a grown-up future. And then I bought another and another and another... I am slightly embarrassed to confess that I have a second wardrobe to house my overflowing collection of Molly pieces.
“What I really love about Molly’s clothes is the physical sensation of wearing them. One of my favourite pieces is a long tartan dress from Spring/Summer 2016. The weight is so comforting and pleasurable. Her greatest trick is that her clothes are actually so easy to wear. Chuck on a dress and you’re instantly ready for a casual lunch, a wedding... Anything!”
Susie Lau, fashion blogger and journalist
“Playing with proportion and volume of fabric, Molly manages to convey an incredible depth of feeling. Wearing Molly makes you think about what it is to be ‘girly’ or ‘feminine’ because her pieces are literally and physically giving you room to breathe and feel free. Tulle, pastel hues, and an abundance of fabric; these are all things that have certain connotations. But Molly has always managed to counterbalance them. I also love how she has evolved as a designer from her very first collections, making her aesthetic grittier and more hardy. It’s a continuation of wearing something ostensibly frivolous, and yet feeling less precious.”
Nell Kalonji, Senior Fashion Editor at AnOther Magazine
“Molly brings a sense of fun and play to her work without taking away from its innate elegance. Who else can make you look so chic in a dress the size of a family car or the perfectly tailored coat... Only Molly. She redefined femininity. Molly’s clothes empower you – wearing them makes me happy. You choose to wear her pieces for yourself... She loves life and when you wear her clothes you do too.”