Michaella Antony, Contributor
Molly Goddard wants to know how good you are with your hands — vis-à-vis embroidery, of course. In her installation entitled “What I Like” at Now Gallery, Goddard situated herself at the juncture of fashion and art (or more literally Gateway Pavilion and Craft London).
The exhibition encompassed a brightly colored array of dresses fashioned out of tulle. Here’s the catch/artistic twist/thing-that-makes-you-want-to-hit-yourself-and-be-like “why didn’t I think of that;” the dresses were made with 23 foot long tulle skirts suspended from the ceiling and dangling down to the floor. This may or may not mean that the exhibition is for giants – the art history majors that are supposed to analyze this and clue us in have not returned from their debate on “the pros and cons of black turtlenecks” yet. However, the presentation’s “cool factor” was derived from its interactive component. Chairs, scissors, needles, and thread were placed next to the dresses encouraging gallery-goers to embroider them with whatever their hearts desired. Pulleys aided the activities by enabling the dresses to be raised/lowered to the embroiderer’s needs. With the culmination of the exhibition, the dresses will be auctioned off for charity.
Goddard is the second fashion designer collaboration the gallery has commissioned. A past student of Central Saint Martins, she is currently thriving on the London fashion scene and “What I Like” is a direct homage the collections she has presented at London Fashion Week (LFW). I’ll illustrate her love affair with texture – think big tulle dresses mixed with knits, voluminous ruffles and pleating galore. It’s apparent that the Now Gallery exhibition stemmed from the same roots. While the exhibition was more pared back, her iconic tulle dresses were on full display.
The exhibit also echoed the themes of Goddard’s LFW collections. She does not stray from exaggerated takes on children’s clothing, her presentation evoking notions of little girls playing dress up. The designs were fresh and vibrant in color, but retain an elegant innocence. They remind the viewer of special occasions and the nostalgia for childhood, bringing playful, real-world magic to the Now Gallery. However, their “girly” aesthetic should not prevent people from embroidering as Goddard herself states, “I’d like to see businessmen in here sewing on an office break … it doesn’t matter if you’ve never done it before, whether you’re a fantastic expert, a child or 80. It’s just about people enjoying doing something with their hands.”
Fashion has generally been an industry shrouded in an air of glamorous exclusivity, an alternate universe whereby the closest an average person stepped were the pages of a magazine, runway photos from a show (#tbt to a pre-blogger era am I right), or the trickle down effects of fast fashion superstores. The creative directors and senior editors would dictate what to wear and how to wear it- the average person taking no part in the production and creation process. This exhibit challenged that norm. Goddard made fashion accessible and finally involved people in the creation process. Her exhibit brought people together to leave their own mark in the fashion world and if her dresses are any indication, there is no limit how high Goddard’s career may reach.