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The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined (touring)

Start Date 30 September 2017
End Date 12 January 2018
Venue ModeMuseum
Location Hasselt, Belgium
Curator Adam Phillips and Judith Clark
Designer Judith Clark
Production Designer Sam Collins
Two dresses with panniers are displayed in front of a dark background
Two dresses with abstract puritan collars stand on white mannequins against a dark backdrop.

Who and what constitutes good and bad taste? Why is something considered as vulgar? Is an object intrinsically vulgar, or is this in the eye of the beholder? What does this disputed word mean?

The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined explored the controversial yet compelling topic of taste in fashion. Creations by leading designers sought to stimulate discussion about the definition of ‘the vulgar’ in an exhibition spanning a period from the Renaissance to today.

Judith Clark curated and designed the exhibition around 11 new definitions of the word by psychoanalyst Adam Phillips. Arranged around thematic categories, such as ‘Too Much’, ‘Showing Off’ and ‘Extreme Bodies’, Clark and Phillips entered into a dialogue that accompanied the visitor through the exhibition.

Creations by Walter Van Beirendonck, Christian Dior, Karl Lagerfeld for Chloé, Prada, Vivienne Westwood, Louis Vuitton and Givenchy amongst others illustrate this complex idea. The exhibition combined historical costume, couture and ready-to-wear fashion with every exhibit reflecting certain aspects of the vulgar. The garments illustrated the instability of taste: what was once equated with vulgarity is re-conjured by designers to become the height of fashion.

With Walter Van Beirendonck, Hussein Chalayan, CHANEL Patrimoine Collection, Chloé Archive Paris, Christian Dior Collection, Erdem, Jean Paul Gaultier, Givenchy, Gucci Historical Archive, Iris van Herpen, Pam Hogg, Stephen Jones Millinery, Judith Clark Studio, Mary Katrantzou, Sophia Kokosalaki, Christian Lacroix, Maison Margiela, Miu Miu, Moschino, Prada, Gareth Pugh, Schiaparelli Haute Couture, UNDERCOVER, Viktor & Rolf, Louis Vuitton