Fashion designer Molly Goddard grew up a stones throw away from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. She remembers running through the halls as a child, and she's au fait with its many grand galleries and vast collections.
On Friday, she dashed through the museum again. This time, to hearty applause, after her 2018 Resort collection paraded through the newly opened, subterranean Sainsbury Gallery, in the kind of immersive showcase Goddard's known for.
'My run-on at the end was so embarrassing!' she says, out of breath after the show, dodging gaggles of congratulatory audience members. She's trying to find her boyfriend and her parents, who were instrumental in pulling the event together, as they have been for many of Goddard's performative runways.
Her parents, Sarah and Mark, designed the elaborate set – though Mark is keen to point out Sarah has been the driving force. 'I just carried things about,' he laughs.
Dining room mise en scène. Photography: Jamie Stoker
The amount of crafty, resourceful work evident in the set belies his modesty. ‘Absolutely everything is handmade, hand painted, and on a shoe-string budget,' Sarah explains, picking up a handful of paper plates that, from a distance, look like priceless Delftware pottery housed in the gallery above. They help make up the dining room scene, complete with bread rolls and kitsch napkins. Opposite, an enormous bed imposes itself. 'It's inspired by The State Bed from Melville House, as seen in the gallery upstairs,' Molly adds. 'It's flamboyant, like the clothes.'
After weaving through a makeshift sculpture gallery, mimicking that of the V&A Sculpture Court, models congregate in the bedroom and dining area, folding their trains daintily underneath themselves on the bed, or sipping from a (plastic) glass. They are teenagers playing make-believe.
It's a colourful, Alice In Wonderland-esque display, filled with girlish joy and childlike abandon. Thankfully, the abundant, billowing tulle that Goddard favours is here in full force, including an impressive blue gown that made waves earlier this year at her Tate Modern show. Indeed, many of the clothes are archival, stretching back to pieces made while studing at Central Saint Martins. They are interspersed with a handflul of new designs. This new collection marks itself apart with punk-ish pops of tartan and more wearable shapes. 'The new pieces are paired down,' Goddard explains. 'They're free and easy, compared to all the big grand dresses that I have been making.'
These lightweight, slim silhouettes act as a reprieve mid-showcase. Their inclusion hints toward a more serious moment in the designer's career. Despite the infectious, light-hearted whimsy that overwhelms the show, it's these quieter moments that prove Goddard's mature complexity.