Written by Maisie Edgeworth
Known for the signature tulle gowns and extravagant smocked skirts, Molly Goddard has grown to become one of London’s most esteemed designers. Founded in 2014, the brand went from being modelled on Goddard’s friends at her graduation show to being a fashion favourite worn by Rihanna and Beyonce.
Molly Goddard graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2014 with a BA and MA in knitwear and was catapulted into the spotlight for her innovative fashion shows and whimsical designs. Her niche craftsmanship of needlework consisting of smocking and shirring are what make Goddard’s designs so loveable to fashion lovers. The designer made her debut collection with £500, a 6-week timeline and presented off-schedule for London Fashion Week.
However, it was not all frills and fun. Goddard struggled and almost dropped out of her MA course. “‘I wasn’t very happy, I wasn’t sleeping. I just felt like, after spending a year on the MA course and dropping out after failing the first year, I had nothing to show for it.” she told Elle. After presenting her collection Goddard expected to receive a job offer, however after the show was covered by I-D and Dazed & Confused, she received sales instead. One of the first orders placed was by the prestigious Dover Street Market in London, and later I.T in Hong Kong. This instantly placed the brand in an advantageous position to enter the industry.
Upon graduating, Goddard received a number of honourable awards including the 2016 British Emerging Talent Award and the 2018 BFC/ Vogue Fashion Designer Fund. Not only does she hold numerous awards, in 2016 she was commissioned by NOW Gallery to create an interactive exhibition. Visitors were encouraged to pull up a chair and embroider onto the oversized tulle dresses hung from the ceiling, with the hope to encourage and appreciate needlework.
Goddard’s brand has gained quite the reputation for its imaginative and charming fashion shows. The shows have ranged from models working in a sandwich making factories to sipping wine at tea parties. Her graduation show was no different – a small church hall where her friends wore her designs – and was fortunately covered by I-D and Dazed & Confused. When designing new collections, Goddard understands how important the show must be. “When I start thinking about the collection, I’m picturing it,” told Goddard to AnOther. “I’m picturing what the show is going to be like at the same time as I’m designing everything.” With every fashion show there is an element of eccentricity which leaves guests anticipating for what is next. After being featured in Vogue’s Most Unforgettable Fashion Shows of All Time, Molly Goddard has become an unmissable show on the London Fashion Week calendar.
The fairy tale-like designs have become a firm favourite with fashion icons including the likes of Adwoa Aboah, Fearne Cotton and Agyness Deyn. In 2017, fashion icon Rhianna was spotted wearing Molly Goddard at the Fenty Beauty launch. The following year, the BBC drama Killing Eve dressed the villainous protagonist Eve in a Molly Goddard pink tulle gown, becoming synonymous with the character. In 2020, Beyoncé wore the iconic pink tulle Daria gown in her visual album Black in King. The brand has become iconic within pop culture and skyrocketed into every stylist’s wardrobe.
Seven years on and the brand has expanded into knitwear, shoe collaborations and even a bridal collection. Whilst still staying close to its established style of smocking and shirring, Molly Goddard has grown to become one of London’s top designers. The brand’s enchanting designs bring back charming memories of adolescence and leaves every fashion lover with a taste of curiosity to see what is next.