The V&A’s new Sainsbury Centre is a 1,100-square-metre exhibition space designed by architect Amanda Levete. The chosen venue for young British design star Molly Goddard’s Fashion in Motion show, the space is at once modern, sleek and vast in comparison to many of the V&A’s galleries. Goddard incorporated several famous pieces from the museum’s permanent collection, including ‘The State Bed from Melville House, Fife’, a four-poster bed upholstered in red, to set the stage for her show on 7 July. Such pieces align with Goddard’s craft-based approach to her work, in which distinctive hand-made sets are juxtaposed with unusual installations with which her models interact.
“I grew up visiting the V&A and it’s still one of my favourite places to find inspiration, so it feels like a massive honour and it is incredibly exciting to show there,” says the 28-year-old Goddard. “The V&A celebrates craft and handmade objects; something which is very important to me and which I have taken inspiration from for the show set and clothing.” Viewers of Goddard’s V&A show witnessed pieces from the designer’s first ever pre-collection alongside re-imagined archive looks from all of her shows, beginning with her degree show, playfully reimagined.
A graduate of Central Saint Martins College, Goddard specialises in traditional techniques, including smocking, crocheting and pleating. One of the UK’s rising design stars, Goddard was the recipient of the British Emerging Talent award at The Fashion Awards 2016. A dress she designed was also recently featured in the exhibition Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion in order to demonstrate the continual influence Balenciaga has had on designers.
At once bold, playful and also fragile and ethereal, Goddard’s work settles on themes regarding nostalgia as well as ideas centred around coming of age. Her storybook gowns are both clumsy and charming and seem to be situated somewhere between grown-up dresses and child fairytale play garments.
“My clothes are girly, there is no denying that but there is a toughness to them, they are clothes to run around in, dance in, work in and do all the things that women do,” says Goddard. “I am quite far from girly so maybe that’s where the mix comes from.”
Goddard’s is a research-based creative process. “I do loads of research looking at books/magazines and in vintage shops looking at techniques and finishing and fabrics,” says Goddard. “The whole process for a collection is cohesive from the start, I think about models, colours, silhouettes, mood, the set, fabrics all from the beginning and then develop that.
Fashion in Motion show by Molly Goddard
The Fashion in Motion show revealed a mesmerising vision of the designer’s edgy glamour. A multitude of flounced dressed appeared alongside flower-printed cotton gowns. There was also one hooped skirt and of course the designer’s storied use of tulle up to the neckline on some dresses thereby transforming her models into contemporary live dolls.
“I think fashion is about celebration, I love to make clothes that I want to wear and people want to wear but I am probably more interested in making things that are almost impossible to wear but really inspire and excite,” adds Goddard.
“I think there is so much to explore in the subject of dressing up, the idea of Sunday best really intrigues me and I like to make things which keep this feeling of celebration but are worn every day, also clothing which celebrates old handmade techniques and craft.”
Goddard’s ‘Fashion in Motion’ show was an Alice and Wonderland-like display of fashion and art – one that offered viewers the chance to dream and go back in time while still staying present through Goddard’s contemporary edginess.
Fashion in Motion by Molly Goddard