Molly Goddard at LFW AW19: Killing Eve’s Villanelle eat your heart out

London designer Molly Goddard has been fashion's best kept secret for years, says Harriet Hall

Saturday 16 February 2019 18:00 GMT
London Fashion Week in numbers

Since 2015, Molly Goddard has been the fashion world’s best kept secret. Unless you frequent the shows, devour the pages of style monthlies or scroll through Net-a-Porter on a daily basis (who, me?), you likely haven’t been familiar with the brand. Despite her roaring catwalk success, the London designer and her capacious fluoro tulle has remained largely an industry obsession.

That was – at least – the case until one fantastically-dressed assassin spread the designer’s name outside the glossy pages. The image of Killing Eve’s chillingly ruthless Villanelle (Jodie Comer) standing in Paris’ Place Vendôme in a signature Goddard pink pouffe dress over a black bra, worn with Balenciaga cut out boots, instantly became one of the most iconic fashion moments television has seen since Carrie Bradshaw was jilted in Westwood.

Perhaps that’s why, this season, journalists had to clamour for tickets to Goddard’s runway show. Held at the high-security Durbar Court at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the mise-en-scène echoed the courtly historicism of the grandiose Place Vendôme piazza – impossible to be an unconscious choice. Hordes of press, buyers, influencers and paparazzi passed through security and donned red lanyards to witness the show unfold.

As the first few models walked out, one wondered if Goddard was trying to cast off her babydoll reputation. Functional tailoring saw straight leg pinstripe suits paired with utilitarian accessories: tight black balaclavas and inconspicuous flat calf-length boots. Decorative eiderdown pillow clutch bags appeared to be as eccentric as it got. Goddard’s pink and green fairy dresses had become micro gothic versions of their former selves. The palette was largely grey, khaki and burnt umber worn alongside green and beige autumnal harlequin knits.

But, soon enough, out came the tulle (thank heavens, for we might have been disappointed without it). Green, black, pastel yellow and of course pink exaggerated babydoll frocks flounced proudly onto the runway in all their joyful glory. Models took a lap before climbing onto a raised platform and walking over air vents for a billowing Monroe moment for the subversive fashion fan. iPhones immediately raised.

A new shape was introduced, also – waisted, long-sleeved, floor-length knotted taffeta gowns in sunflower and black, worn with lace-up black army boots. The yellow iteration, in particular, was quite stunning. One stand-out piece was a knee-length crystal fringed cape. Something we will no doubt see on a red carpet come September.

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But it was most interesting to see Goddard produce some more commercially minded items. Lilac trench coats that belted with bows like armour across the chest, a black coat that would have belied its creator were it not for the ruched back belt and that aforementioned suiting.

Ensuring her designs would not be upstaged by a hired killer, Goddard presented her most show-stopping gown yet. Brighter and more gigantic than any of her previous dresses was a shocking pink one so enormous it would hardly fit through most doorways. If you’re new to fashion week, a clue to whether or not something is well-received by show attendees is how many times cameras are raised for an ensemble. At the end of Goddard show, all arms were in the air, frantically snapping away – each desperate to capture their own shot of that same fuchsia dress.

Humbly popping out from backstage to take her bow, Goddard was met with rapturous applause. She had done it again. How Villanelle would have loved it.

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