Beautifully Vulgar!

Vulgar – a word we often associate with negative images because of cultural influences, it’s the height of distaste and the risqué. Well actually it means common. When I think of common, I think of it in relation to social status and that would imply that everyday people are common just like Pulp refer to in their song ‘Common People’.

The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined exhibition explores the term ‘vulgar’ in relation to fashion and how it pushes the boundaries creatively and socially. It’s a real eclectic mix over time and tastes – how vulgar is vulgar and is it really that? Or is it just a case of extreme tastes clashing?

The exhibition is the culmination of an idea that was developed and researched by fashion historian Judith Clark and psychoanalyst Adam Phillips. Using his definitions of vulgar ‘as a starting point’, the exhibition draws from various private and public collections with designers ranging from Westwood to McQueen and Lagerfeld to Miu Miu. The diverse range of items on display span 500 years of fashion.

It’s a real eye-opener, whether your interest is historic, contemporary, classy or trashy – there is something for everyone’s tastes. I don’t want to spoil it for you as it is a real ‘must see’ exhibition for anyone interested in the development of art or fashion, but I do recommend taking some time to look at the crinoline dresses – they have the biggest one ever made for its period with an overlay of the most exquisite of hand embroidered fabric. It’s so excessive but at the same time mind blowing and innovative for its time. If Renaissance wear is not to your taste and you like more modern items, you can take in the original Yves Saint Laurent Mondrian Dress, and if that doesn’t whet your appetite there is always Iris Van Herpen’s glass dress (yes I said GLASS dress).

If that isn’t enough to convince you, there is also an opportunity to see some of Christian Lacroix’s workbooks and a dress made out of £6000 in twenty and fifty pound notes.

So how vulgar is vulgar? Well that’s for you to decide but you need to hurry as this exhibition is only on at the Barbican until February 5th 2017.

All photos are courtesy of The Barbican Centre



One Comment Add yours

  1. Ellie Jenkins says:

    I really want to see this exhibition. I was hoping to go this weekend, you’re review has definitely made me decide to definitely go. Thanks


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