The British fashion designer Molly Goddard has already designed looks favored by celebrities on both sides of the pond and her intricate, rebellious frilly style has been a huge influence on her peers. Last week, she became a part of British fashion history when she was awarded the Goodwood Talent in Fashion Award by the British Fashion Council and the Duke of Richmond. The award is named after the Goodwood Estate, which has been the seat of the Duke’s family for more than 300 years.
In a statement, the duke explained why he was honored to give the award to Goddard. “Molly was a clear contender for this year’s award: Her collections are bursting with bright and joyful colors and she is renowned for her lavish and flamboyant designs,” he said. “This fits perfectly with Goodwood’s approach to fashion, which embraces a glamorous yet relaxed style.”
As part of the award, Goddard designed three outfits based on the atmosphere at the estate, and they will be added to the estate’s permanent collection, alongside its priceless paintings by artists like George Stubbs and Canaletto. Goddard’s capsule collection of three gowns debuted during the July 26 opening ceremony of the Qatar Goodwood Festival, a five-day annual series of horse races, also called Glorious Goodwood.
“The three gowns I have created are inspired by the incredible art collection and interiors of Goodwood House; I am immensely proud that my work will become a part of this amazing collection,” Goddard wrote of her collection. “When visiting, it was immediately apparent how special Goodwood is; on arrival, I was shown into the main house through a room filled floor to ceiling with beautiful Sèvres porcelain.”
The award was selected by a panel of judges, which included the duke and Lydia Slater of Harper’s Bazaar UK along with Sian Westerman and Caroline Rush of the British Fashion Council. Rush, the council’s chief executive, said: “Congratulations to the brilliant British designer Molly Goddard on being awarded this year’s Goodwood Talent in Fashion Award. The Duke of Richmond is building an incredible archive of British creativity through this annual award, which highlights the role of fashion and style at this quintessentially British racing event.”
The Goodwood Estate is located on 12,000 acres of land in Chichester, West Sussex, about 60 miles south of London, and it has been in the family since the first Duke of Richmond, an illegitimate son of King Charles II, acquired the land along with a small house to use as a hunting lodge in 1697. The current duke, Charles Gordon-Lennox, is the 11th Duke of Richmond, and was known as the Earl of March before his father, the 10th Duke of Richmond, died in 2017.
The 10th Duke was known for renovating the property in the 1960s and ’70s, and for his progressive social views. Alongside the famous course for horse racing, the Sussex Downs, are a motor racing track, an organic farm, a golf course, a hotel, and grounds for pheasant shooting. Spectators from around the world come for Glorious Goodwood, other horse and motor racing events, and an annual festival called the Goodwood Revival, a motor race where attendees don period dress from the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s to promote sustainability and recycling.
The Goodwood Talent in Fashion Award was founded in 2020 and was first given to a designer Richard Quinn. The idea for the award arose after the Syrian-born British designer Nabil Nayal was commissioned to design three looks for the Qatar Glorious Goodwood in 2019. His designs were a striking black-and-white color-block suite.
“We have always been known for this quintessentially ‘England in the summer’ way of dressing, ever since King Edward VII and Lillie Langtry came racing during the 19th century,” the duke said in his statement praising Goddard. “This award has been created in order to support innovative British talent whilst helping us to build a unique collection of one-off pieces here at Goodwood. We are thrilled that Molly’s gowns will become part of our fashion legacy.”
listen to Vanity Fair’s DYNASTY podcast now.