molly goddard ushers in a new era of british fashion history
Tulle over tailoring, knitted socks and balaclavas, insulation against the world, and a healthy dose of Tess of the D'Urbervilles inspiration.
Molly Goddard’s show this season took place in a grand Westminster hall, an unusual choice maybe, for a fun, young, London designer. It was held in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, although ‘office’ is too prosaic a word for Dunbar Court, off Whitehall -- a glass-topped courtyard which came coated in very Imperial looking marble and lined with busts and statues and obscure little relics of British history.
The reason for all this political glamour was that show was hosted by The Great Britain Campaign, to trumpet the fact that the British fashion industry supports 890,000 jobs and is worth over £30 billion to the country’s economy. And these are of course perilous times for British fashion, with the spectre of Brexit looming over us, there’s a lack of certainty in the future. What might happen to all our fashion? It’s European interconnectedness feels vital to it, not just financially, but personally and emotionally. How many have found jobs and internships and learnt their craft in Paris, or looked to it for inspiration, and how many have come here to study and launch labels and become part of our society and fashion scene. Then to further add to the drama of the day, there was a small group of Brexit protesters outside the show.
How would Molly approach all this? The show notes promised Molly’s woman would stomp through the storm. That was the most literal it got – Molly’s girls came out wrapped up and cosy, wearing practical shoes and practical trousers. There was tulle worn over tailoring, knitted socks and balaclavas, insulation against the world. Molly had raised an old school fashion walkway through the middle of the venue, a windmachine added to the drama. The girls came at it and blew and swirled their dresses around, it felt a little like an army of homespun Marilyn Monroes.
“Tess of the D'Urbervilles”, Molly explained post-show was one her “many references – it’s hard to see how they all come together sometimes. It was about feeling safe and wrapped up. I wanted you to be able to walk up a mountain in it.” It was about being frivolous and fabulous and strong and tough and resilient, not just surviving but thriving. We’ve seen plenty of plays upon British fashion history already at LFW – Asai, Matty Bovan and Symonds Pearmain all explored it in different ways yesterday – but Molly seemed to be pushing more towards the future, or at least, explicitly reacting to the now.