My growing collection of Molly Goddard dresses hang proudly in my spare room, taking up a good amount of space. But you want them to spread out, and you’re happy to have them engulf your room with their smocked and gathered deliciousness. For most people, one of Goddard’s dresses would do them just nicely. They might wear it out for years until the gathered fabric starts to unravel and the straps break and get mended again. I can picture them tattered twenty years from now and I’d probably still find it unbearable to throw away. And as I looked at my tulle-filled room, I was thinking maybe I’d hit a Molly wall – that I’d stop at three and wear them they get to that aforementioned state.
Then I entered Goddard’s presentation last night and I was instantly swept away under a spell of frothy pale colours, the recreation of a Parisian haute couture salon and a piano rendition of My Heart Will Go On. Fellow journalists and editors caught me looking ridiculously enamoured because I was so visibly slayed by Goddard’s sheer amount of fabric yardage worked into this collection. Suddenly the three existing Goddard pieces in my wardrobe weren’t enough. There’s now a corduroy floral smock in mustard yellow. There’s the unexpected use of rain mac nylon in a burnt orange smocked skirt. And then there’s that candy floss pink tulle worked into a billowing dress with the most incredible off the shoulder undulating sleeves.
For Goddard, there wasn’t necessarily one particular reference but for me Cecil Beaton’s photograph of Charles James frocks in 1948 in shades of pale blue, sherbet yellow, candy pink and mint green definitely came to mind. Especially in the grand setting of Tate Britain’s Duveen a Galleries. It was the stylised backdrops of the 1966 yakuza film Tokyo Drifter though, that inspired the columns and almost surreal cotillion/prom set, where Goddard’s tried and trusted gang meandered from spot to spot. They leant on one another, held each other’s hands and made you feel like you were in the prettiest conversation salon, where sisterly camaraderie should obviously be attired in these prim noir dresses as well as the array of pastels that look like they’ve been plucked from the brighter Turner paintings in the adjoining gallery. I hesitate to use my favoured adjective ‘frou-frou’ because even though these girls moved in the same manner as models did at mid-20th-century haute couture salon shows, there’s still a tomboyish and awkward air about them that makes Goddard’s dresses appeal far beyond its apparent niche. And whilst Goddard’s circle of friends, who feature in her presentations are ‘girls’, as someone who’s definitely the other side of thirty, this collection also manages to go that extra yard to seduce women of all ages. I’m duly looking into the idea of building some sort of a Molly shed in my little patch of a garden to accommodate more of her frocks.
Transport during London Fashion Week has been kindly provided by Mercedes-Benz.