I first read about The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined exhibit at the Barbican Center in the September issue of Vogue. I circled the words, folded the top corner of the page, and put on it my list of places I must go.
The exhibit was imagined and curated by Judith Clark who paired fashion, from ancient Greece and this season Gucci, with exerts from psychoanalyst Adam Phillips' discussions on the definition of Vulgar.
The model of what is vulgar in fashion has changed and been redefined over the past centuries. One may see revealing skin to be vulgar or that showcasing one's wealth through over the top garments is in poor taste. The exhibit walks you through time periods and ideologies demonstrated by the most amazing and historically important garments.
One of my favourite things about the exhibit was seeing garments and collections from the past five years that have been topical or that have had backlash from the media, such as Mochino and Gareth Pugh. Seeing these pieces in the flesh and displayed in a gallery I saw them more as art or that they didn't belong among other designs.
When you stand a John Galliano for Dior couture gown next a 2015 Raf Simons dress are the two comparable? Is one vulgar compared to the other for its representation of the brand and level of design, or are neither of poor taste and simply in separate relms from each other?