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PROVOCATIVE PIECES: London’s Barbican art gallery will mount a fashion exhibition in October, which explores the theme of vulgarity.

The exhibit curated by exhibition-maker Judith Clark and psychoanalyst Adam Phillips aims to explore taste, extravagance and excess in fashion will feature 150 pieces from the Renaissance through to the 21st century. The showcase will feature historic dress, couture and ready-to-wear looks, textiles, manuscripts, images and film.

Ensembles from various designers will be on display including Chloé, Christian Dior, Elsa Schiaparelli, Jeanne Lanvin, Manolo Blahnik, Miuccia Prada, Louis Vuitton and Vivienne Westwood.

The exhibit will also explore materials and embellishments that were once thought vulgar such as gold, velvet, pearls and spangles. Highlights include Vivienne Westwood corset top, body suit and dress, and a selection of looks from John Galliano’s time at Dior, which express the concepts of “too big” and “too much.”

“Our shared project was to examine the uses of the word vulgar, using the language of dress and the language of verbal description,” Clark told WWD. “Each of the 20 sections present a new aspect of vulgar as experiment, exposure and performance.

“Fashion exhibitions have been considered vulgar,” Clark added. “Their association with the department store and the catwalk, the brand and the advertisement, were felt to be compromising: Fashion as the corruptor of good taste. The exhibition reflects and reflect on this history. The accompanying windows designed for Selfridges in Oxford Street for September’s London Fashion Week, will take up these themes.”

The Vulgar Fashion Redefined runs from Oct.13 through Feb. 5.

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