This season I missed the library, I missed people watching and shopping at markets. My research was focused on books I had at home; Tina Barney’s Europeans, David Douglas Duncan’s Goodbye Picasso and many Terence Conran House and DIY books which occasionally feature a well-dressed person in a beautiful home. I pulled images from my archive folders of photocopied research, which I have compiled over the past 15 years or so.
All of these books represent something that has always inspired me, I love looking at people (especially families) of all generations and how they wear clothes. The contrast between characters and styles. A glamorous smoking grandmother, sulking teenage son, an old man in tweeds and a young girl proudly ready for a night out.
‘Classic’ items of clothing, traditional and even specifically British are reinvented in colours and fabrics which transform them into something new and transferable between generations and ages. Pink herringbone tweed mini skirt suits, multicoloured all over Fair Isle knits, frilled tailoring, a pink and red velvet collared wool coat.
I loved the idea of making the ultimate dresses, based on classic prom or party dresses that are so recognisable, but a little twisted – the tulle dress becomes so loud and clashing that it is almost ugly, the taffeta bows are spiky sharp, as are the bows on the shoes. Everything has a toughness and practicality despite the colour and scale. Colour and detail are key, layers of socks and tights and lace up leather, building up colourful and intricate outfits from simple pieces. I am quite fed up of seeing leggings and black puffa jackets for walks in the park. Pieces in this collection are for celebrating and enjoying. Each item could have been handed down through generations, and now hopefully will be. Long lasting, but spiced up wardrobe classics.
The show took place in our studio in Bethnal Green. At the start of the first lockdown we took a risk and expanded our studio, taking on a large gallery space. It has allowed the team to continue working at a distance when allowed and has been the venue for all shows and showrooms this year. I was inspired again by the books referenced earlier for the set. I like the consistency of showing in the same space, almost like a Parisian salon show, but wanted to make the space warm and glowing gold. Wintery but optimistic.
Molly Goddard / photographer credit Ben Broomfield