From stunning historical fashion pieces to modern day ready-to-wear pieces, there’s over 120 exhibits here to fascinate with the theme of vulgarity and excess. We had the good fortune to be sent an invitation to The Vulgar – Fashion Redefined Exhibition Private View at Barbican Gallery, London. Here’s our review of it and some of the enjoyable highlights that we encountered.

Set on two floors, we found that fashion curator and exhibition maker Judith Clark and psychoanalyst and writer Adam Phillips have produced a thought-provoking event that confronted our current attitudes towards what is vulgar in current fashions and gave a very clear and interesting explanation of the origins of fashion vulgarity and excess. Of the more contemporary exhibits amongst our favourites were Richard Sage’s Pound Sterling Bank Note Dress created from £6000 worth of actual banknotes (sponsored by Britannic Money!) Hussein Chalayan Dress with painted nails and the excessive Victor & Rolf Van Gogh Girls Couture Show, S/S 2015 pictured above (© Team Peter Stigte)


If you think that the Vivienne Westwood’s, Alexander McQueen’s and Jean Paul Gautier’s to name but a few were over the top then you’ll in for a real treat from some of the historical exhibits such as the jaw-dropping 18th Century court dress 1748-1750 courtesy of the Fashion Museum Bath (see above), the I’ve got load’s money Viennese Gold bonnet 1798/1810 from the Wien museum.

As exhibitions go this is not a blockbuster of Alexander McQueen and David Bowie proportions but is right up with many of the best of the intriguing and displays of iconic creative fashions. If there is one slight criticism that one could make is that there could have been some more examples from lesser known designers rather than so many of the large established brands and designers.

It’s an exhibition that discusses what people think of what is vulgar and does vulgarity really exist. It’s an exhibition that will stimulate your grey cells and challenge your perceptions of states of minds and people believing that they are superior to other people.


To continue your experience of The Vulgar into the real world head to Gallery’s shop where you can purchase a replica of the famous Mondrian dress designed by Yves St Laurent – a snip at £199.


Or this Vulgar Hand Fan by illustrator Alice Smith for just £20.


The Preview Evening attracted several hundred famous people from the fashion and art world including Grayson Perry (above), Simon Le Bon and Pam Hogg who had several exhibits herself.


The Vulgar – Fashion Redefined. Barbican Gallery, Silk Street, London EC2 runs from 13th October 2016- 5 February 2017… More details at https://www.barbican.org.uk/artgallery/event-detail.asp?ID=18736

Don’t miss more fashions in our Fashion Fabulous at London Fashion Week SS2017 Part 2 coming soon!

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