The Vulgar, Fashion Redefined | Barbican

Non classé

‘Vulgarity exposes the scandal of good taste’ Adam Phillips

In French, the word ‘vulgar’ has a pejorative connotation, closer to meaning of vulgarity as indecency, excess and rudeness, rather than the meaning of  common, ordinary and familial.

I was first surprised to discover an exhibition exploring the controversy of taste in fashion and its evolution since the Renaissance. What is good taste, bad taste?

Fashion has always been a copy of something, a translation into something slightly different. Designers have explored the photocopying as a medium, like MMM x H&M with a dress trompe-l’oeil with a print of a sequin Martin Margiela branded dress.

MMM x H&M, dress trompe l'oeil, 2012.jpg

At the barrocco age of excess and luxury, the elite exhibited their privilege to have access to this rarity and exclusivity. Their extravagance was a guarantee to be distinguished and stand out from the mundane. Christian Lacroix said that “they are the lines which go out”. It reveals “our strange fear of being nothing special”.


Chanel, AW 2014-2015

In the modern times, it goes to the exhibtion of the body by wearing underwear as outwear. It exposes the hidden and intimacy as external armor.
Extravagance, excess, profusion, exaggeration, luxuriance… as a quest of the “TOO” : too much, too big, too -. It expresses a desire of something that you can’t be or you can’t have, as an impossible dream.

Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton, AW 2013-2014


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