Charlie Smith Design

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Barbican — The Vulgar

The Vulgar is the first exhibition to explore the inherently challenging but utterly compelling territory of taste in fashion, from the renaissance through to contemporary design. Examining the constantly evolving notion of vulgarity in fashion whilst revelling in its excesses, you are invited to think again about exactly what makes something vulgar and why it is such a sensitive and contested term. 

Working alongside our long term collaborator and exhibition curator Judith Clark we created the exhibition graphics, handout and catalogue for the exhibition. 

The identity for the exhibition was based around the challenge of representing the ever changing idea of vulgarity. 12 definitions of Vulgar guided the exhibition, and we worked with Clark to create a style that could embody all of the definitions of vulgarity. Mixing more traditional typography and print finishes like gold foil, with bright colours and collaged imagery, representing some more contemporary ideas of vulgarity.

Illustration became a large part of this visual style, we commissioned 12 emblems from Alice Smith, that used traditional symbolism to represent each of the ‘definitions’, these were used throughout the exhibition and the catalogue. We also created original collages for the catalogue as our own contemporary take on representations of vulgarity. 

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