”The Vulgar-Fashion Redefined” exhibition coming at the Barbican


Vulgarity exposes the scandal of good taste’ ~Adam Phillips~


Hats off: oversized headgear by milliner Stephen Jones. Photograph: Ronald Stoops

Potent, provocative and sometimes shocking, the word vulgar conjures up strong images, ideas and feelings in us all. The Vulgar is the first exhibition to explore the inherently challenging but utterly compelling territory of taste in fashion, from the renaissance through to contemporary design. Examining the constantly evolving notion of vulgarity in fashion whilst revelling in its excesses, you are invited to think again about exactly what makes something vulgar and why it is such a sensitive and contested term.


Wide load: an 18th-century mantua. Photograph: Peter J Stone ARPS

Drawn from major public and private collections worldwide, The Vulgar showcases over 120 stunning objects, ranging from historical costumes to couture and ready-to-wear looks, with contributions from leading contemporary designers such as Walter van Beirendonck, Chloé, Dior, Pam Hogg, Charles James, Christian Lacroix, Lanvin, Yves Saint Laurent, Moschino, Prada, Schiaparelli, Philip Treacy, UNDERCOVER, Viktor & Rolf and Vivienne Westwood.


It’s all about the bling: couture from the late 1990s by John Galliano at Dior. Photograph: Guy Marineau

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