Provocation is a bedrock of the fashion industry, yet amid a cost of living crisis and global boiling, it’s no accident that designers are getting more tactful with how they incite conversation and intrigue.
In the years that followed the pandemic, two schools of thought emerged. The first was outlandish displays of theatrics that tilted between gimmicks and novelty. The latter was a reign of sensual dressing, with boudoir-influenced silhouettes exiting the bedroom and entering the streets.
It’s this dialogue between the seen and the unseen; the sartorial moments that we exclusively reserve for ourselves, that fuelled London-based designer Molly Goddard’s Spring/Summer 2024 collection.
“I have always loved the internal workings of garments, hand-sewn adjustments and finishings,” wrote Goddard in the show notes for her London Fashion Week collection. In this collection, the intimate details that create our internal uniform, come to the forefront in billowing crinoline frills or balconette linear structures.
Rather than the subverted interior techniques becoming a trite foray into the realm of sultriness, these inherently amorous garments are explored through Goddard’s signature childlike disposition.
Underwear-as-outwear often emulates lingerie shapes, however, Goddard maintains her youthful aesthetic by deconstructing and reconstructing these codes per her whimsical lens.
“I started this collection at the National Theatre costume hire, focusing on underskirts and underwear—crinolines, 1950s bras, Victorian christening gowns, Georgian underskirts,” the designer noted.
“We turned things inside out and discovered grosgrain strapping, internal zips, boning and binding,” she added. “These elements play a key part in the collection, all exposed, exaggerated and external.”
“Grosgrain and zip plackets are highlighted and left undone and underwear details feature throughout, cotton wrapped elastic, zig-zag stitching, bra seam lines. Pin tucks are cut on the bias creating new silhouettes and draping.”
Despite this approach feeling quite modern, there’s also an archaic sense to the collection, with Edwardian ruffles and Baroque volume paired with liberated shapes like crop tops and drop-waist skirts.
“Domestic qualities also feature,” Goddard explained. “Satin trim felted wool knits reference old fashioned rich pastel blankets, a faded upholstery rose print on lightweight cotton organdy, wadded cushion bags, a duvet dress.”
Here, Goddard looks at the elements of dressing, placing the pieces that form the foundation for our own sartorial identities on a pedestal. Designs worth being uncovered, but not in the traditional sense of shedding layers to mine what’s underneath.
In a way, the collection brings the raw or unadulterated to the mainstream. Rather than shielding behind layers of clothing, Goddard supplants underwear as the innermost, authentic representation of one’s character.
Fitting then to tap leading New Zealand-based sustainable skincare brand, Emma Lewisham, for the collection’s beauty.
With Emma Lewisham’s ethos rooted in high-performing, natural skincare that empowers an uplifted, unblemished complexion, the synergy between Goddard’s freeing “undergarments” and Lewisham’s untouched skin was palpable.
Here, Goddard left nothing to hide behind. No cheap thrills, just pure artistry. A master of her craft.