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The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined (touring)

Start Date 03 March 2017
End Date 25 June 2017
Venue The Winterpalais, Belvedere
Location Vienna, Austria
Curator Adam Phillips and Judith Clark
Designer Judith Clark
Production Designer Sam Collins
Two panniered skirts are displayed in a brown wooden frame in a gilt gold room. Three embroidered menswear outfits are displayed in the background.

This exhibition deals with the controversial and simultaneously captivating theme of taste in fashion. In Prince Eugene’s former winter palace, creations by renowned designers inspire a discourse on the definition of “vulgar”. The historical spectrum of exhibits spans from the Renaissance to the present. The exhibition makers’ subliminal conclusion, which is corroborated by statements made by Coco Chanel or Jonathan Swift: in the end, vulgarity as opposed to what is called “good taste” is a matter of personal attitude.
The show, conceived by curator Judith Clark and psychoanalyst Adam Phillips, was already on view at the London Barbican Centre. At its interdisciplinary starting point are the diverse definitions of the term “vulgar”. Discussing ten topics (such as “Self-Expression”, “Puritanism”, or “The New Baroque”), Philips and Clark enter into a dialogue with visitors that accompanies them through the exhibition. The fashion theorist responds to Philips’ analyses with a selection of unusual exhibits illustrating the various aspects of the vulgar in fashion. The show presents fashion designs by Walter Van Beirendonck, Manolo Blahnik, Christian Dior, Karl Lagerfeld for Chloé, Prada, Vivienne Westwood, and many others.
The publication accompanying the exhibition (Verlag Buchhandlung Walther König) contains illustrations and essays contributed by the exhibition makers, as well as interviews with designers represented in the show.

“These days more than ever, such an intelligent look into the phenomenon of the vulgar is highly desirable. The exhibition ‘Vulgar? Fashion Redefined’ at the Winterpalais in Vienna could thus not have been more expressive of today’s zeitgeist.”
Vogue Germany, March 2017