The Vulgar exhibition at the Barbican London showcases a rich collection of garments, accessories and iconic dresses from the 17th century to today. The exhibition is organised by themes rather than dates.
Seems strange to walk in an exhibition named “Vulgar” and see a 17th century Mentua Gown or Iris Van Harpen’s exquisite 3D printed dresses.
The exhibition challenges the modern understanding of the word “Vulgar”. In fact “Vulgate” meant the translated version of the Bible “into English and other vernacular languages”. A quote in the museum explains it more accurately: “The vulgar, like fashion, is always a copy. It invites us to imagine the original and exposes what has been lost in translation.”
It is in that process that the exhibit categorises Vulgarity into the following themes:
These images are examples of designers’ clothing in certain categories. The exhibition does not showcase every all the exact same designs. Most of them are examples of what falls into each theme of the exhibition.