This season, we’re breaking down the Fall/Winter 2023 collections with a new franchise The Fashion Week cheat sheet. After talking to designers about their inspirations, their hero pieces, the faces on the catwalk and the names on the front row, we bring you everything you need to know about AW23.
London Fashion Week is in full swing as usual, featuring street-style photos, celebrities on the front row and parties late into the night. But, for Molly Goddard, this season was about stripping things back, right down to the basics, to focus entirely on her brand, great design.
“It’s a small, small scene — at this point, we have a small amount of press and buyers, but now we’re back,” Goddard told me this week. “No noise, no circus. And that’s the theme of the whole collection as well.
Showing in her studio in East London, the designer said she wanted attendees to see everything up close – “it’s all about slowing down and focusing on the clothes”. This was a response to the current mood of the industry, where designers are often forced to use their energy elsewhere – red-carpet dressing, brand promotion, social media – instead of giving their full attention to what they really love. In Care Of.
I think wanting to strip everything back and show it that way is a reaction to what’s going on right now. I feel like things are a little crazy – there is no focus on clothes. I want this to be the cure for that. For me, my focus is always on the clothes – I’m not too interested in the show around it.
This comes not only in the layout of the catwalk show, but of course in the designs, which Goddard describes as noise-free and functional. “Nothing was done for this show. I wanted it to be a really wearable collection.
Theme and inspiration.
“I always do a lot of research, so there will be a million references and inspirations in the collection, but in terms of defining the overall product, I just wanted the focus to be on the clothes, on the craft,” Goddard reiterated. “I wanted to make a show that felt very honest and straightforward. The studio is where we work, where everything is prepared, where the sculptures are cut, where we make all the materials, and I wanted to bring everyone into that world.
In what she called a “fashion audition,” the designer worked with her sister and stylist Alice Goddard to delve into the past, poring over the archives at Central St. Martin’s Library, figuring out how to recreate the pieces she remembered. About their youth; The pieces you’ve dreamed about in fashion magazines, as well as the ones you can afford.
“Charles James dress with that Ralph Lauren jumper; Anna Molinari slip with this Cerutti coat, leopard-print jeans we bought at Gap Kids in Whitleys, screen-print sporty sweater from Portobello, exposed paper belt we shared from Claire’s Accessories. They also looked in the Molly Goddard archive.” What they did and didn’t do—rearranging, adjusting, changing the fabric, refining. The result is a collection that feels nostalgic, familiar, grown-up, wearable, curated.”
Pieces of a hero
“We’ve done this knitwear this season that’s in wool but it’s really strong – it’s got pins, so you have to treat it and apply these pinch marks. It’s a very sculptural way – and then we’ve got some tulle in leopard print, which I’m really excited to wear. Clothing wise, we have made some serious menswear tailoring.
Goddard feels comfortable talking about trends with this collection, which he doesn’t want to play with enthusiasm. These clothes are inspired by her love of fashion, influenced by the past and designed to be worn and loved forever.
“I guess what I want my collections to feel like is not timeless, that’s the wrong word because that sounds too big and I don’t mean it that way,” she says. “It’s timeless and timeless. I want everything to have a really long life and be worn and cherished forever. I don’t want anything to be a trend or a viral moment, I don’t want the flash of the moment, it’s never about instant gratification. I want to create clothing that you will want to wear again and again and last forever. I’ve always felt that way, but I think it’s especially true this season. “
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