Exploring the shifting territory of taste in fashion, from the Renaissance through to contemporary design.

Coco Chanel once proclaimed: ‘Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity.’ One would assume then, that she would not approve of an exhibition celebrating fashion’s obsession with conspicuous excess.

With over 120 exhibits from the Renaissance to the present day The Vulgar explores changing notions of acceptable taste. For example, an ostentatious 18th century court mantua featuring gigantic overskirts are displayed alongside John Galliano’s risqué interpretations of Holbeinesque nobility, demonstrating that extravagant exhibitionism has always remained at the heart of couture, whether at court or on the catwalk.

Barbican Art Gallery

Level 3, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS

020 7638 8891


Opening times

Art Gallery
Daily, 11am – 8pm (Thu & Fri until 9pm)

The Curve
Daily, 10am – 6pm (Thu & Fri until 9pm)

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