Molly Goddard, makes Frilly Dresses

28 Feb

Molly Goddard

What started out as an excuse for a party – Molly Goddard’s first collection was put together in six weeks for £500 and shown off schedule – became a business almost by accident. “I had no production plan, it was just fun. It was in a church hall in Mayfair. Somehow Dazed & Confused and i-D covered it. I thought I would get a job from it – but I didn’t think I’d get sales.”

Quickly Dover Street Market, the influential multi-brand store set up by Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons, put in an order, as did I.T in Hong Kong. “I spent all my youth going to Dover Street and feeling very intimidated,” she says. “I was almost too scared to look at things but now I know everyone is so friendly there and interested in you.” They even gave her a window.

Goddard (a former intern for John Galliano and Meadham Kirchoff) spent the next few months working morning till midnight cutting, smocking and sewing until the orders, for more than 80 dresses, were complete. She didn’t even have a studio – she did it all from a small spare room in her parents’s house in Ladbroke Grove in west London.

Collection  S/S 2015

molly_goddard_ss15

molly_goddard_ss15

molly_goddard_ss15

molly_goddard_ss15

molly_goddard_ss15

It was her mother who taught Molly Goddard to sew. “She used to make loads of clothes for me and my sisters in gingham, rickrack and frills. For our birthdays she would always make us something, like a skirt.”

While Goddard was at school, around the age of 15, she did a week’s work experience with designer Giles Deacon. “I didn’t have a clue who he was or how successful he was till I left and saw him in Vogue,” she says. Later she did a BA (Bachelor of Arts) in fashion knit. 

As a student at Central Saint Martins, Goddard became obsessed with the smocking that made her feel nostalgic for the dresses her mother made for her as a child. She likes children’s clothes; she has kept many of her own and collects vintage outfits as inspiration. She is drawn to garments that don’t fit properly, that are slightly too small, like the shrunken jumpers she designs. When she joined the MA (Masters of Arts) course, a tutor told her about the Sally Stanley smocking machine – a 1950s contraption with tiny needles that get threaded up and ruche the fabric into tight gathers. She started to experiment with the technique but struggled with the course.

Collection A/W 2015

Molly Goddard AW 2015

Molly Goddard AW 2015

Molly Goddard AW 2015

Molly Goddard AW 2015

Molly Goddard AW 2015

Molly Goddard AW 2015

“I couldn’t keep up and I was very miserable,” she says. “The month before the big deadline when you have to show your work, I didn’t sleep. The stress we were under was so intense. I was quite relieved that I had failed because it meant I had a way out.”

 As it turned out, leaving the MA was the making of her. Perhaps it was the fact that she was making a collection just for the fun of it that gave Goddard her joyful USP (unique selling proposition). The resulting look was dishevelled bohemian crossed with punk princess, and it hit a nerve. “It’s not precious,” says Sarah Mower, renowned fashion critic for Vogue.com. “It’s pretty but never frou-frou. I’ve seen very grown-up women wearing her things. This is not just for awkward 19-year-olds: it can be glamorous.

Collection S/S 2016

Molly Goddard S/S 2016

Molly Goddard S/S 2016

Molly Goddard S/S 2016

Molly Goddard S/S 2016

Molly Goddard S/S 2016

There is of course a danger that the famously fickle fashion pack will get bored with voluminous party dresses. But Goddard is in no hurry to reinvent herself just yet. “It’s really lucky to have an instant signature but it was never conscious,” she says. And with that she disappears in a cloud of tulle.

Collection A/W 2016

Molly Goddard aw 2016

Molly Goddard aw 2016

Molly Goddard aw 2016

Molly Goddard aw 2016

Molly Goddard aw 2016

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Molly Goddard is a recipient of NEWGEN

Created by the British Fashion Council in 1993 New Generation (NEWGEN) is one of the most internationally recognised talent identification schemes which continues to showcase and promote new designer businesses today.  The scheme has been sponsored by Topshop since 2001 who have been integral in nurturing emerging talent in London.NEWGEN offers catwalk designers financial support towards their show costs and the opportunity to use the BFC Catwalk Show Space. Others receive sponsored presentation & installation funding and a timeslot in the ‘NEWGEN pop-up Showroom’ to showcase their collections. This offers an important introduction for young UK-based designers to influential press and buyers from around the world. NEWGEN also provides business and mentoring support through the BFC in partnership with DLA Piper, Baker Tilley and Lloyds TSB.

Since NEWGEN’s inception, its roll call includes Alexander McQueen, Boudicca, Matthew Williamson, Julien Macdonald and more recently Christopher Kane, Marios Schwab, Richard Nicoll, Erdem, Mary Katrantzou, Meadham Kirchhoff, Simone Rocha, J.W.Anderson & Christopher Raeburn.

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molly-goddard
Official website:   http://mollygoddard.com/
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2 Responses to “Molly Goddard, makes Frilly Dresses”

  1. fabrickated 28 February 2016 at 11:27 #

    Brilliant. What a fascinating story as well as beautiful clothes. Thank you.

  2. A.G.Nauta couture 28 February 2016 at 14:00 #

    Thanks for your comment! Love the clothes too…

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