The Vulgar: Fashion Exhibition At The Barbican

  Walter van Beirendonck  / Hat Stephen Jones / autumn-winter 2010-2011 © Ronald Stoops

Walter van Beirendonck  / Hat Stephen Jones / autumn-winter 2010-2011 © Ronald Stoops

Deemed by Coco Chanel to be the opposite of luxury, vulgarity is probably not a word one would typically associate with high fashion. However, this notion is about to be challenged by a major London exhibition, to be staged at the Barbican Art Gallery this autumn.

Entitled ‘The Vulgar: Fashion Redfined’, the theme was conceived by leading fashion curator Judith Clark and Britain's chief psychoanalytic writer Adam Phillips. It will be the first exhibition of its kind to explore the issues of good and bad taste in fashion, from the constricting corsets of the renaissance to the more recent trend for oversized logos, encouraging visitors to consider what makes something vulgar and why it is such a sensitive and contested term.

  Dior by John Galliano Haute Couture spring/summer 2005 © Guy Marineau

Dior by John Galliano Haute Couture spring/summer 2005 © Guy Marineau

The items on display have been sourced from major public and private collections worldwide, and include historical costumes, couture and ready-to-wear looks. Classic pieces will sit alongside contemporary contributions from the likes of Chloé, Christian Dior, Miuccia Prada and Vivienne Westwood, and textiles and manuscripts, as well as photography and film, will also help to illustrate the transient nature of taste.

  Dior by John Galliano Haute Couture autumn/winter 1998-1999 © Guy Marineau

Dior by John Galliano Haute Couture autumn/winter 1998-1999 © Guy Marineau

The exhibition will also consider the relationship between fashion and the body, examining the issue of over-exposure, as well as how designers play with the concepts of revealing and concealing.

  Viktor & Rolf Van Gogh Girls Haute Couture spring/summer 2015 © Team Peter Stigter

Viktor & Rolf Van Gogh Girls Haute Couture spring/summer 2015 © Team Peter Stigter

‘The Vugar: Fashion Redefined’ runs from 13th October 2016 to 5th February 2017.

Read more about the exhibition here.