Rebecca Armstrong’s Graduate Collection, Shimmering and Dirty, is heavily influenced by 1990s fashion, taking inspiration from the work of photographers such as Corinne Day and Juergen Teller. These photographers pioneered a new kind of aesthetic in the 1990s that depicted female subjects in realistic terms, often labelled ‘raw’ due to their use of harsh lighting and lack of retouching. Their work in the fashion industry was pivotal to the re-evaluation of unachievable standards of beauty and poise previously dictated by mainstream publications and helped to open up a dialogue regarding the dissolution of normative ideas on the presentation of women and femininity in fashion. Rebecca seeks to create contemporary Womenswear that evokes a sense of power, combining contrasting elements of dress including tailoring and lingerie.
Drawing on details and finishings photographed at the National Theatre Costume Warehouse in London, this collection looks to deconstruct historical pieces of underwear as well as reimagining them in non-traditional fabrics or reassembling elements with contrasting garments such as tailored jackets. Contextual research looks to the work of designers such John Galliano and Dolce and Gabbana in the 1990s, focusing particularly on their use of sheer fabric with elements of underwear. Sampling forms the basis of Rebecca’s design process, used to explore and reinterpret details observed in primary and secondary research. Each garment is very detail-oriented, preserving some of the traditional features and finishings of historical underwear whilst also finding new uses for them.