1.- An introduction to the world of Rachael Forbes
The name ‘The Imaginarium Apparel’ at first glance evokes an inevitable sense of fantasy and magic. It’s more than a chic name for a line of fashion clothing, immediately sparking off a sense of all things unique and fairytale like. Here we explore just why this first collection from the brand is giving new meaning to the world of dramatic design!
2.- Hybrid Outfits by The Imaginarium Apparel
Does the clothing line live up to the atmospheric and inspiring name? We believe that it fits the theme and goes far beyond into a design world that not many mainstream fashion dares too. Yes, ‘ The Imaginarium Apparel’ brand is everything one could hope for. At first glance there is the shape of the items that make up the collection. We all know that first impressions count: think daring, mysterious and chic! These are all words that could easily be attached to the clothes in this collection.
One could consider that these items of adornment also cross the line between fashion into the realm of accessorising. Take a look at the often unorthodox materials that are used in each of the pieces. Fantastical feathers can feature in a head piece along with the rest of the very nature inspired outfit. We use that term ‘nature inspired’ very loosely because the very organic shapes feature heavily in the collection. The feathery breast of a bird, the harsh lines that make up the body of an insect. Parts of the costume like design are moody and decadently bleak. A sense that fits in perfectly with the Gothic tone that runs dynamically fast throughout the line.
Corsets are some of the most shape enhancing items of clothing ever invented, and they are put to good use within all The Imaginarium Apparel ensembles. Narrow waists are teamed up with puffed out, dare we say it ‘winged’ sleeves. The combination is also added to the flouncy mid-Victorian zeal of the long swishing skirts. The figures cut a strong feminine aspect, dark and brooding the outfits have just as much personality as the wearer. Think of any gothic fairy godmother in your own tale of mystery! All in all one can expect some of the most scintillating but functional silhouettes ever imaginable.
Like in all haute couture dressing, finer detail also play an important role in this collection. Attention to these smaller but essential parts of each item are taken into consideration despite much of the focus being on the dramatic effect. Designer and creator Rachael Forbes brings her expansive knowledge of the theatrical arts to the pieces. Whether it be at the narrowed waist or along the lower hip, each cinched in stitch is designed for maximum impact! These fulfill a purpose all of it’s own. Thousands if not tens of thousands go into the making of every fully boned corset, head piece and to create the magnificent final effect.
To say the pictures are alluring is an understatement in our view. These images are just as darkly tailored to the sense of the dressing as the pieces themselves. A fan of all things alternative will tell you that a simple flick of liner at the corner of the eye can make a huge impact. The blood red of full and plump lips add a dash of colour to the darkly seamed outfits. We adore how the pieces in The Imaginarium Apparel collection take on these subtle but important aspects, making them a part of the costume and the overall effect.
José Francisco Alfaya from Decimononic was happy to have the chance to interview Rachael Forbes, the creative inspiration and drive behind The Imaginarium Apparel brand.
1. Who or what inspired you to become a designer? Was it always something you always knew you would do?
I have always been interested in fashion, and have enjoyed experimenting with different aesthetics through clothing and makeup. I studied performance costume at Art College and designed costume for theatre, film and music video before launching my own label. Designers like Alexander McQueen, Eiko Ishioka, Issey Miyake and Thierry Mugler who blend the boundaries between theatre, performance art and fashion; encapsulating a vivid fantastical world is really inspiring. Their influence led me to want to create designs that were conceptually considered, intricately detailed and theatrical, whilst being accessible to people.
2. What message are you addressing with your clothes and where do you stand?
My designs are intended to create an otherworldly quality to the wearer, with elements of the dark and sinister inspired by strong female characters of fairytale and myth. I have always admired strong women – and feel that this is a constant underlying influence over my design ideas and styling for photoshoots as well as representing my own feminist views. The use of sharp angles, dramatic towering headpieces, strong shoulders and armoured corsets are intended to embody an overall sense of female power, allure and danger. Ever since childhood I have enjoyed the excitement and fun of dressing up, and hope people who wear my pieces experience a little of that too.
3. Why insects and amphibians as inspiration for your first collection?
My designs are inspired by the sculptural forms, colours and textures of insects and amphibians: the aliens of our world. I love the contrast between delicacy, defensive and attack qualities found in their luminous veined wings and sensitive antennae with their armoured bodies, pincers, spikes and bristling hairs. There is something very appealing about translating these insect qualities of beauty, delicacy and danger onto humans. They influence how I manipulate, layer, embroider and bead fabrics to create interesting textures and textiles upon sculptural armour like forms. Amphibians in particular conjure portrayals of scaled mythical monsters; representing people’s real and imagined fears of the time as well as an intrinsic fear of women and sexuality.
4. There is no doubt that accessories play an important role in the fashion field. How does the symbiosis between attire and jewelry enhance your designs?
I design and make whole outfits consisting of many pieces layered to create an all encompassing theme or look brimming with detail. Pieces worn singularly in a different context can become strong statement pieces in their own right. I think both are equally as important, yet it is always interesting to design with a single piece in mind which can end up being very considered and detailed outwith the aesthetic of a whole outfit. I enjoy seeing how people choose once piece and wear it in their own way.
5. What are some of your future plans down the road?
The future is very exciting for The Imaginarium Apparel! I am looking forward to launching my new collection onto the website and Etsy page. The new collection follows a similar theme more heavily influenced by myth and fairytale using historical cuts contrasting with modern materials. I would like to explore costume and styling for music video, film and fashion projects.
We are probably right if we state that there is a link between The Imaginarium Apparel and Decimononic: a mission of empowerment. We look forward to more from The Imaginarium Apparel!