#INTERVIEW: Rebellious Fairy Tale - Molly Goddard

She is known for her signature tulle and bold approach to scale and proportion, often using tens of meters of fabric in a single dress. Her clothes challenge the idea of wearability and bring joy: they are celebratory yet remarkably robust, equally suited to the pub as the red carpet.
Reading time 6 minutes
Molly Goddard, Fashion Designer

Born in London, Molly Goddard established her eponymous label in 2014. She holds the MA in Fashion Knitwear Central St Martins London.

Molly has been highly commended for the presentation of her work, finding unique methods to build worlds for her collections. Her shows are known for their immersive attention to detail, from wine stained tablecloths to dancing models, always echoing the feeling of the Molly Goddard woman: straight-forward, uninhibited and comfortably over dressed.

1599552460920808 mgoddard101 190914 ss20 2391599552461082444 mgoddard101 190914 ss20 108
1599552490781683 mgoddard101 190914 ss20 0951599552520721760 mgoddard101 190914 ss20 461
Molly Goddard SS20 | Photos: Shaun James Cox

Her collections are carried by many of the world's most prestigious stockists including Dover Street Market, Browns, Trading Museum Commes des Garcons, I.T., Boon the Shop, Club 21, Comme des Garcons Aoyama and I.T Beijing. Matches, Net-a-Porter & SSENSE are the main online shopping destinations for Molly Goddard pieces. 

Her whimsical creations are often inspired by nostalgic themes, from fairy tales to Sunday best, yet the offbeat spin she puts on each piece makes them feel thoroughly modern. The fairy tale-inspired frothy tulle gowns and silk smocks have a rebellious feel, similar to the ’50s sheaths and prom dresses that were repurposed in the punk era.

Celebrities who have worn Molly Goddard are among many: Adwoa Aboah, Jodie Comer, Edie Campbell, Paloma Elsesser and Susie Lau. Kelsey Lu wears Molly Goddard in the music video for 'Shades of Blue' and Rihanna attending the 'Fenty Beauty' Launch in September 2017.

Recent accolades include the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund award 2018, Harper's Bazaar Breakthrough Designer 2017 and British Emerging Talent at the Fashion Awards 2016. Goddard was also selected as a finalist in the 2017 LVMH Prize. In 2018 Molly launched her first book, a photographic reworking of her archive shot by Tim Walker and styled by long term collaborator Alice Goddard.

1599554301505828 mgoddard101 190914 ss20 4951599554301592464 mgoddard101 190914 ss20 506
Molly Goddard SS20 | Photos: Shaun James Cox
1599555149752924 mgoddard101 190914 ss20 568

Tell us about your latest collection.

MG: The last show was a really fun show for me, I enjoyed simply focusing on making clothes. There was no overarching theme or point of reference besides developing new techniques to create volume. I still did a lot of research but more for silhouettes and styling inspiration. I looked back at past seasons and developed the silhouettes and techniques further. I wanted all the clothes to be self-supporting in their make and cut. No underpinnings or hidden support just clever and complicated cutting and manipulating. For the show the audience were sat very close together, only an 80cm wide catwalk so everything was up close to see, almost claustrophobic.

A key piece of Molly Goddard SS20 collection?

MG: I loved the pink taffeta dress Edie Campbell wore to close the show, it had red elastic channels and layered balls of taffeta, I also enjoyed working on the cable wool knit jumpers with ribbons.

1599552568271631 mgoddard101 190914 ss20 611
Edie Campbell closing Molly Goddard SS20 fashion show | Photographer Shaun James Cox

What part of being a fashion designer do you enjoy the most? 

MG: I like the fact that I get to work with my hands, I make and draw things all day rather than staring at a computer screen.

How did you come up with the idea of creating your brand?

MG: I didn’t really decide to start the brand exactly, I had failed my masters and wanted something to show for the work I had been doing so I started making dresses for my friends to wear to a party me and my boyfriend hosted during fashion week. The dresses were worn by all my friends over jeans and t-shirts wearing flip flops. We danced and drank and invited some press we knew and the next day a shop got in touch and wanted to place an order for the dresses. That’s how it began! 

What is a story behind your designs?

MG: Every season I do lots of research from books, magazines, museums and vintage. It will be a very loose broad idea but then I will focus on lots of other more specific things, like Victorian trims for lace or a certain top I wore as a teenager or the color in a painting – all these things feed in to one collection. 

1599554510311317 ss20mollygoddard 0411599554967891517 ss20mollygoddard 009
1599554431445636 ss20mollygoddard 0191599554581771153 ss20mollygoddard 022
Molly Goddard | Backstage at the SS20 fashion show | Photos: Jason Lloyd-Evans

What inspires you the most?

MG: People, I love looking at what people wear and how.

Are there designers you always look up to?

MG: Miuccia Prada and Rei Kawakubo.

What does creativity mean to you?

MG: Taking inspiration from one thing and creating something totally new. 

How do you design?

MG: I have my research all over the walls of my studio, and do hundreds of drawings every season. I develop the drawings until I have a very clear idea of how it would be made, what fabric and exactly how it will look and then talk it through with my pattern cutters and wait to see a toile. From there we play around and develop styling ideas on our fit model Liberty.

How do you discover new textiles?

MG: It’s a real challenge, and we have set goals to work on sustainable fabrics as much as possible. I like to develop new fabrics but also have a bunch of my favorite plain fabrics which we will manipulate and play with – that excites me much more than a fancy weave.

Which countries are your biggest markets? 

MG: We sell internationally, the UK and the US have always been very strong for us as has Japan.

1599554884309652 ss20mollygoddard 035
Molly Goddard | Backstage at the SS20 fashion show | Photo: Jason Lloyd-Evans
1599555775096634 ss20mollygoddard 0211599555877997283 ss20mollygoddard008

What is you favorite fashion trend of all time?

Very low slung trousers.

What do you wear on a daily basis?

MG: I normally wear a dress of mine with jeans and flat shoes, trainers or loafers. I layer lots of things so very rarely wear the same thing, it is always a new combination of old pieces mixed with vintage I collect.

1599555047891239 mgoddard101 190914 ss20 631
Molly Goddard | Photo: Shaun James Cox

What is the first thing you think about when you wake up?

MG: Snooze, snooze, snooze. I love a lie in.

What’s the last thing you think about before you go to bed?

MG: I read to get to sleep, so I am normally absorbed in a book before I nod off.

The last book you read?

MG: “Another Country” by James Baldwin. It is amazing!



*This story first appeared in the March 2020 issue of L'Officiel Arabia.


related posts

Recommended posts for you