molly goddard goes back to the drawing board at dsm
We talk to the young designer as she transforms the iconic Dover Street Market window into a cluttered, colourful artists’ studio.
Molly Goddard is taking over the world one frilly pink ball gown at a time, and we can't wait for her to transform it all into her college fantasy wonderland. Showing with NEWGEN for the first time last season, her life-drawing set up, with its street-cast girls dressed to the nines in taffeta, sketching a naked life model, caught the eye of none other than the first lady of fashion, Rei Kawakubo. She then enlisted Molly to take over the Dover Street Market window at their London flagship, as well as mount an installation in the New York store. Now, the young Londoner and Central Saint Martins alumna will be heading to the woodland gardens of Cornwall's Port Eliot Festival. As she sets about street casting at the annual festival, we catch up with the rising star to talk Rei, growing up and what she's dreaming up for her next collection…
What was the idea behind the DSM window?
It was based on the presentation, an extension of that. We had lots of different ideas and then came back to the beginning and thought we did that quite well, so we should do it again, but a bit more intense. We just cranked it up and made it a bit more like an artist's studio than just a classroom or whatever it was before.
Did you make all the sculptures in there?
Yeah, some of those are from the presentation but a lot are new. It was just a lot of collecting. We wanted it to be really, really, really full.
Was it all stuff you'd used before, like the used paintbrushes, or did you collect everything new?
Stupidly we got rid of a lot of stuff from the presentation. I guess when you've been doing something for so long, when it's over, you just feel like getting rid of everything. So we almost had to start again. It was quite a few weeks of collecting and making. My mum, who did the set design, her house is full of everything.
Did DSM give you quite a lot of freedom with it?
Yeah, they gave us a lot of freedom. We just proposed an idea and Rei Kawakubo approved it and then we could just go for it. It's really nice that they are so flexible. I'm used to, with other things, having to do a lot of health and safety and there's lots of approving, but it felt like we had free reign to do what we wanted.
What's the installation in the New York store?
It's a bit different, but it's still an extension of the presentation. All the drawings that the girls did in the presentation are all over the walls, and then we've got a red carpet covered in paint, and there are some dresses on mannequins.
Did you get to meet Rei?
Once, very briefly at Dover Street.
Did she have any words of advice?
She just kind of sussed me out - it was quite brief! But I've spoken to Adrian [Joffe] quite a few times. He's really lovely, he's been very supportive. He was around when we were installing.
What are you up to at Port Eliot? Are you recreating your autumn/winter 15 presentation there?
Kind of, a bit switched over. We're going to set it all up and then go round and cast girls from the festival on the Friday and Saturday, and on Sunday, get the girls to wear the dresses and get people from the festival to do some life-drawing of the girls in the dresses. I don't think there'll be any naked people! Or maybe there will be, I don't know…
How important is street-casting to you?
I think it's really important. Alice, my sister, does the casting for the shows and we work with friends as well. It just means you know the girls a bit better rather than just having a whole load of models come in the day before. It's quite a nice process, we do the casting quite a lot earlier, we'll even start thinking about it now. It means that it affects what I design, because I have the girl in mind.
What were you like at school?
I never really had a prom or anything like that, well, we did but I think it was just at Camden Lock in a crappy bar, it wasn't very glamorous! I was the opposite of all the girls in my presentation. I wore tracksuits. I was, I dunno, can you say "chav"? Maybe! I wasn't particularly girly or fashionable. My show is a bit like a fantasy world to me I suppose, the kind of posh prom and all of that stuff.
Who else do you want to see at Port Eliot?
I'd like to see Marta and Paulo, from Marques'Almeida, doing a talk.
Are you working ona spring/summer 16 collection now?
Yes, I'm doing NEWGEN again and another presentation. The general theme is bleak, English countryside. Not twee in anyway, a bit grim, but still quite pretty. It's like summer dresses and jumpers.
Would you ever consider doing runway?
Yes, I'd really like too, I kind of wanted to do it this season but I think it would be good to do another presentation. I always get a bit carried away. I think there's a lot more to be done with presentations. But I am really interested in doing runway, and especially doing something interesting with it, not a straight up and down. A kind of old, 50s Dior one or something like that would be quite fun.
That would be amazing! You're presentation had such an atmosphere, how would you translate that to a runway?
I don't know, they did used to be quite amazing though didn't they. I mean, they still are, but a with a bit more personality I suppose, like the old ones.
Text Felicity Kinsella