At Molly Goddard, the Devil Is in the Details

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Molly Goddard Spring/Summer 2024
Molly Goddard Spring/Summer 2024Photography by Ben Broomfield. Courtesy of Molly Goddard

Held in the grand rooms of Christie’s auction house, Molly Goddard’s Spring/Summer 2024 show was “very much about making clothes, which is my favourite thing to do,” says the designer

During the Spring/Summer 2015 season, Molly Goddard staged her first presentation at London Fashion Week. A quirky affair shown off the official calendar, the British designer staged a small party at a church hall in Mayfair with a Portuguese wedding singer, which saw her closest friends dressed up in brilliantly-hued frocks created from vast swathes of tulle. Goddard couldn’t afford to cast models at the time and the whole collection was handmade out of her kitchen, but the charmingly ad-hoc event launched her career. Her Spring/Summer 2024 show, held this Saturday in the grand rooms of Christie’s auction house – just a stone’s throw from that church hall – was a far more decorous production, though no less personal to the cult London designer. “Christie’s is such a beautiful place, with beautiful daylight,” she tells AnOther over the phone from her studio in Bethnal Green. “For the show, I wanted to do the impossible thing, which is something big but intimate.”

Ideas of intimacy and scale were also at the core of the collection itself, which saw the designer venture into focused, sultry new territories. While the spectacle of her enormous tulle showpieces have been at the heart of previous seasons, this time the tiniest of details became the star of the show. Dresses were turned inside out to expose the hand-hewn evidence of labour, usually tucked out of view, while the hidden shapes of vintage underwear inspired the collection’s romantic silhouettes. An invitation to look closer, to take in the details, it represented something of a love letter to the secret inner-world of Goddard’s designs. “Last season, I was a bit fed up with everything,” she says. “How the fashion industry was working and the speed of everything. I feel more positive at the moment, and this collection is very much about making clothes, which is my favourite thing to do.”

A meticulous researcher, Goddard started the collection in the libraries of Central Saint Martins and the National Theatre costume hire, examining with forensic attention the construction of crinolines, 1950s bras, Victorian christening gowns and frilly Georgian underskirts. “Really amazing vintage clothing or antique pieces are often handmade, and it’s only once you look inside that you see the work that’s gone into it,” she says. “You see that kind of personality, where someone’s hand has touched it and made that garment. I think that’s a very special thing.”

Bar the shock of one acid-green tulle dress which came down the runway, a mellow colour palette let these finicky details shine, with grosgrain and zip plackets exposed and left undone on bare, very low-slung backs; and frills bursting out from beneath heavy cotton skirts. Elsewhere, sleepy domestic materials like bedding and blankets – items of similarly intimate use – inspired cushiony bags, a wadded duvet dress, and felted wool knits trimmed with shiny satin, which resembled bed coverings you might find at your granny’s house. As ever with Goddard, sheer beauty is always offset with something more interesting, and in this collection, sporty boxing-inflected boots brought a small dose of toughness, while flipped out finishings made it look as if models had thrown on dresses the morning after a party without checking to see if they were inside out.

A collection about things lesser seen and our private worlds – the stuff of bedrooms and underclothes – the beauty looks for the show were also fittingly stripped-back. Mod-ish fringes by hairstylist Gary Gill echoed the show’s rock-coded soundtrack, while Thom Walker’s barely-there make-up sat atop of dewy skin created by natural, New Zealand-based skincare brand Emma Lewisham. Makeup adds another creative element to a look, so by simply embracing natural, healthy skin, it leaves our undivided attention to rest on the wonder of Molly’s creations, allowing them to exist raw and unrivalled, Lewisham tells AnOther of her approach to the beauty look for the show. “It has been such an honour to collaborate with Molly, she is a visionary and a friend.”

Nearly a decade on from that sweet church hall party in 2014, Goddard’s brand is now a force of nature. Her unmistakable creations are adored by legions of women, splashed in the pages of independent magazines by the world’s foremost stylists, and have stolen scenes in television shows (most memorably, Killing Eve). But for the designer – who stepped into the sun-strewn room in Christie’s for a brief second at the show’s finale, smiling and heavily pregnant – it’s never been about the fanfare of success; it’s always been about the clothes. “I think I actually block out the fact that it’s a show that people are coming to see,” she says at the end of our call. “It feels so personal, this little thing we’ve been working on in the studio, but I hope people really soak in the fine little details. I really hope you can see those.”