While most young designers spend their early years trying to find their voice, Molly Goddard knows who her customer is. She has the rare gift that many - even well established designers - crave, and that is the ability to create garments that are unmistakably, time and time again, "Molly."
It was three years ago that Molly first introduced the world to her famous colourful tulle dresses - the ultimate 21st century update to the 80s prom movie heroine's uniform. In an industry that has long condemned signs of 'frill' and 'girliness' as cheap or un-fashionable, Molly's exaggerated take on the party dress - very often in shades of pink - is a breath of fresh air. Stomping down the runway in heavy eyeliner and clunky shoes under huge A-line dresses, her models each season project an unapolagetic, declarative attitude indicative of today's passionate young people.
Fast forward to last weekend in London, and this attitude was more prominent than ever; maybe you could say that as her brand has evolved, the energy of Molly's shows have become more confident as well. British darling Edie Campbell opened the show on Saturday, strutting down the catwalk with a glass of wine in hand... need we say more?
The collection certainly had Molly's usually handwriting all over it (of course, there was some great tulle updates), but there were also some changes and very on theme new 'risks.' Metallics, mini dresses, and more knits than usual broke up the parade of poofy gowns and added a sense of old Hollywood glamour, gone slightly awry thanks to the battered Frye boots and heavy eyeliner that accompanied the more prim garments.
This duality of naughty and nice is even more clear looking at key pieces from the line up close. The angular waistlines on the smock dresses throw a wrench in the modest 'maiden' look (not to mention the backless peasant dress), while the demure 1950s-housewife-esque cardigans are cut to stop above the midriff. Even the tulle dresses are almost always cut above the ankle, taking that one little step to prevent them from being too elegant; these dresses are made for the princess-turned-heroine, not the girl sitting in her tower, after all.
And therein lies the appeal of Molly Goddard's brand. Consistent despite the fashion industry's unstable currents, the look that she designs has a multifaceted approach to femininity. Embracing the aspects of womanhood - or even moreso, girlhood - that have often been belittled, and making them seem powerful, grown-up, and even badass, Molly reminds us that subscribing to 'girliness' and carving out a space for yourself in the world are not mutually exclusive. Never has that message been more clear and adventurous than with her bold Spring 2018 collection.
Now pass the wine.
Special thanks to the British Fashion Council for granting us access to the Newgen showrooms and for supporting young British talent.
Photos by Tia Elisabeth Glista (@tia.elisabeth)