London Fashion Week: Molly Goddard’s super-sized dresses delight with feminine frills

The Killing Eve designer’s freewheeling silhouettes echoed the spirit of the modern female who is fundamentally a child at heart

A model presents a creation by designer Molly Goddard during the catwalk show for the Autumn/Winter 2020 collection on the second day of London Fashion Week in London. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

A model presents a creation by designer Molly Goddard during the catwalk show for the Autumn/Winter 2020 collection on the second day of London Fashion Week in London. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

 

When it comes to big, frothy dresses, no one does it better than Molly Goddard. At London Fashion Week on Saturday, the British designer showed her winter 2020 collection in Central Hall, Westminster, London’s biggest event centre, on a storm-lashed day in the city, dressing the vast lecture hall with tables dressed for dinner with bread and wine. Her billowing tulle confections, long puffball skirts and voluminous sleeves make her the mistress of what’s called Big Dress Energy.

Escapist they may be but their heightened femininity, exaggerated proportions and vibrant colours stand out, and sent her small business into the news when she was headhunted to dress Jodie Comer as the psychopath Villanelle in BBC’s hit TV show Killing Eve, now into its third season. She certainly knows how to do killer tulle.

Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images
Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images
Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images
Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images
Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images
Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

The 31-year-old designer, who counts Rihanna and model Agyness Deyn as some of her fans, hates her dresses being described as “princess”, likes them worn with trainers or biker boots and set trends: she made pink tulle a red carpet favourite last year.

This time, for winter, there were the predictable big tulle dresses in summery colours – tangerine, orange, coral and lemon and even a huge creamy silk meringue affair illustrating the craftsmanship that distinguished the whole collection.

Photograph: Deirdre McQuillan
Photograph: Deirdre McQuillan
Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images
Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images
Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images
Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images
Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images
Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images
Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images
Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

Star pieces perhaps, but elsewhere she used tulle in more everyday ways – peeking out under handsome grey coats with Peter Pan collars or topping little black tulle skirts with Fair Isle sweaters or textured knits, everything grounded with black tractor-tyre sneakers or brogues.

Baby doll dresses, another familiar theme, came in darker colours and tartan trews were softened with ruffled tulle tops. Blowsy floral prints with fine transparent overlays made for some very dreamy dresses. Ruffles, pintucking, gathering and draping marked out the handwork. Models, all sporting big black bows on their heads, included Irishwoman Lorna Foran from Kildare.

Goddard, a knitwear graduate of Central St Martins, taught herself pattern cutting by blowing up her baby clothes, making them a hundred times bigger, and resulting in odd proportions. Children’s wear continues to be an influence and her show included an image of a little girl dressed in BMX jumper, tiered skirt and trousers with her denim-clad dad pushing her stroller.

That playfulness and fun, such a feature of the innocent delights of childhood attire, underlay this collection. Its brio, spacious, comfortable, freewheeling silhouettes seemed to echo the spirit of the modern female who is fundamentally a child at heart.

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