Picture something pink. Make it brighter. Throw in some tulle. And then some more. Again. Keep going until what’s in front of you resembles a frothy fuchsia sort of cupcake. That’s Molly Goddard. OK, not quite. But you get the idea.
Since 2014, the west Londoner has made a name for herself for her voluminous, larger-than-life frocks. Coming in myriad eye-popping shades, they are almost always one of the highlights of the season, bringing a much-needed dose of dressing-up box energy to the runway.
Though Goddard has been a name to note ever since her namesake brand’s inception, it was thanks to a starring role in Killing Eve in 2019 that the designer became a household name.
Jodie Comer famously wore one of Goddard’s candy floss-coloured creations in the role of Villanelle, the strangely seductive assassin who spends the show playing cat and mouse with British intelligence officer Eve Polastri (played by Sandra Oh).
There was just something about seeing such a dangerous character clad in such a joyous outfit that struck a sartorial chord – and stills of the scene in which Comer wears Goddard’s design went viral on social media.
Goddard’s reputation went stratospheric, though, after Beyonce wore one of her fuchsia creations in her visual album Black is King.
Ever since then, Goddard has continued to push the boundaries of what it means to have fun with fashion. Tulle has become crunchier, skirt circumferences higher.
This season, the brand returned to the Seymour Leisure Centre, where it also showcased its autumn/winter 2022 collection – guests memorably entered drenched from the British rain, broken umbrellas in tow, or maybe that was just me. This time around, sunnier climes were thankfully upon us, meaning the mood was thoroughly brighter inside. On the front row, we saw the likes of Laura Bailey, Adwoa Aboah, Ramla Ali, and Edie Campbell, a close friend of Goddard’s who usually models in her shows.
The collection was divided into four parts. Each featured a group of models following a pattern around the gymnasium before they all disappeared, making way for the next lot. It all unfolded to the sounds of remixed 1980s party hits, including “Once in a Lifetime” by Talking Heads.
The first part of the collection comprised a palette of cream and navy, with strapless, full-skirted structured dresses worn over printed jeans and cowboy boots, while sculptural high-waisted skirts were paired with threadbare cotton T-shirts. A pop of tangerine came by way of a ruffled smock top, which was offset by black tailored trousers. There was tailoring elsewhere, too, with a single-breasted dusky pink suit making its way down the runway on one of the male models.
Polkadots came next: on collared navy-blue tulle tops and smocks with tutu-like ruffles. Variations were designed in peach and red, while this section also saw the introduction of heavier printed fabrics on skirts and sleeveless dresses. By the third chapter, we were seeing things through Goddard’s familiarly kaleidoscopic lens. Cotton smocks with endless ruffles at the hem came in lilac and ochre. Cable-knit cardigans were pale pink and deep sea blue. And then there were the handbags: rectangular ruffled constructions in crimson and blue.
But it was the fourth section that really felt most in keeping with Goddard’s signature aesthetic. A full-skirted purple tulle dress was worn underneath a neon green button-down top – we saw the same look reimagined in burnt orange and highlighter pink – and sheer dresses worn over striped co-ords featured in greens, yellows and, of course, pink.
The star of the show, though, was the final look: an enormous – and utterly nonsensical – white gown with more layers of tulle than one could possibly count. Picture the size of Carrie Bradshaw’s famous “mille feuille” dress. Now triple it.
“I wanted the staging of the show to feel like a break from relentless scrolling,” says Goddard in the show notes. “The experience of watching in person is different to seeing it online – slower, messier, more spacious.”
It was this spirit of joy, optimism, and messiness we all needed.