The Vulgar

Fashion Redefined

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.

Drawn from major public and private collections worldwide, this richly illustrated volume showcases over 120 stunning objects, ranging from historical costumes to couture and ready-to-wear looks.

With contributions from leading contemporary designers including Chloé, Christian Dior, Christian Lacroix, Miuccia Prada, Elsa Schiaparelli, Philip Treacy, Viktor & Rolf, Louis Vuitton and Vivienne Westwood.

This book contains fascinating literary definitions by curator Judith Clark (Professor of Fashion and Museology, University of the Arts, London), and psychoanalyst and writer Adam Philips, alongside interviews with several leading contemporary designers.

Taking the definitions as a starting point, more than 200 stunning images are also included – weaving together historic dress, haute couture and ready-to-wear fashion, textile ornamentation, manuscripts and photography.

Published on the occasion of the exhibition, The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined at the Barbican Centre, London (13 October 2016 – 15 February 2017).

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