This was a tale of two — or maybe even three — collections, with Molly Goddard slimming down her fantastical tulle and taffeta dresses to great effect and pairing them with tailored trousers, balaclavas and sturdy boots. “I was thinking about Tess of the d’Urbervilles — and a million other references, too,” the designer said backstage, adding that she wanted to add a “protective” and practical element to this collection that ended with a big, tiered ballgown in magenta.
The best looks were gossamer tulle dresses with fluttery sailor collars, smocking at the front or bunches of small pleats around the waist in lime, magenta, mint and acid yellow. Other taffeta dresses were just as lovely — lightweight and sculptural with knotted ties across the front, little pouf skirts or elegant elbow-length sleeves. Long and lean coats got a similar treatment, with waist-hugging pleats or bows knotted across the front.
Other parts of this collection fell flat, including the mismatched layered looks — argyle cardigans worn over striped dresses and clashing scarves — that made models look as if they’d gotten dressed in the dark. Long, dour and padded olive dresses tread into “The Handmaid’s Tale” territory, especially when paired with those balaclavas. What woman, with the exception of a 19th-century Thomas Hardy heroine with no central heating, needs an extra layer of padding in her life?