The Imaginarium Apparel – Fashion Theatrics!

Feature by Alexandra Fiddes | 01 Aug 2013

As we are well aware, Festival season is now upon us. So with this in mind dear Skinny readers, we thought we'd inspire and delight with some very theatrical fashion.

After completing her degree in Performance Costume Design at ECA, Rachael Forbes worked within the theatre, the film and music industries. Earlier in the year she decided to go it on her own, launching her own label in the capital, named The Imaginarium Apparel.

Forbes says, "[I] was frustrated that more unusual designs were not so readily available to buy, therefore I decided to make my own!" Adding that fashion is a big influence on her work, she elaborates "I have always admired the dramatic catwalk fashion designers like Alexander McQueen, Thierry Mugler and Issey Miyake and enjoyed how they encompassed theatre, performance art and fashion."

Rachael's work is beautifully intricate, extremely sculptural and wonderfully sinister. "The latest collection is inspired by the sculptural shapes, colours and textures of insects and amphibians; the aliens of our world. I love the contrast of delicate wings and antennae in comparison to their armoured bodies, spiky pincers and defensive or attack mechanisms."

These somewhat unlikely inspirations are translated into wearable pieces of high fashion. Forbes explains, "There is something very appealing about transferring these insect qualities of beauty, delicacy and danger onto humans; hopefully giving them an otherworldly quality."

The headpieces and garments are made from traditional costume and millinery techniques, using a wide range of materials, from light fabrics such as chiffon, more industrial materials like PVC, leatherette and also latex. The material is then manipulated and embellished. She says, "I work into them using embroidery, dye, distressing, quilting and beading to create something a little unexpected. Most pieces require a lot of inner structure, creating cages using different types of boning, lots of supportive fabrics and stiffeners to create the sculptured forms."

Here we've paired standout pieces from The Imaginarium Apparel with garments by Judy R Clark, A Weekend In Hell the AW13 collection of Obscure Couture, jewels from Vanilla Ink, along with shoes by Topshop.

Shoot Credits:

Photographer – Elliott Mackie

Stylist – Alexandra Fiddes

Make Up & Hair Stylist – Sian Lidgate

Model – Bethany @Model Team

Headpieces – The Imaginarium Apparel

Location – Thanks to Shirley and all at The Royal Lyceum Theatre Workshop

Anisoptera Headpiece £280 by The Imaginarium Apparel with Vixen Dress by Obscure Couture
Arachnoidea Headpiece £250 The Imaginarium Apparel with Vixen Dress by Obscure Couture 
Muscae neckcorset £125 The Imaginarium Apparel with Vixen Dress by Obscure Couture


More of Rachael's stunning work can be seen at For news and upcoming events check out the Imaginarium Apparel's Facebook page