Let your
hair down.

The Barbican Ball 2016
Click here to view this year's photo gallery

Inspired by The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined
(Barbican Art Gallery, 13 Oct 16 - 5 Feb 17)


Come to see and be seen at The Barbican Ball 2016, inspired by The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined, a Barbican Art Gallery exhibition, exploring the constantly evolving notion of taste.

Join us on Thursday 24 November 2016 for a celebration of fashion at its most audacious – it would be scandalous not to attend.

Dare to be daring; be fiercely fearless. Challenge all the style norms as you strike a pose on the dance floor. This is one party for which you won’t want to be fashionably late.

Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.

Oscar Wilde

The Dress Code: Break all the rules! Be flashy and flaunting, vulgar or vogue… But whatever you wear, don’t be dull, darling!

The Auction: The Barbican Ball auction is now open. Visit www.barbicanball-auction.com to Ooh! and Ah! over the fantastic lots. Then splash some flash cash by placing an extravagant bid!

All net funds raised from the event will be donated to the Barbican Centre Trust, a registered charity (294282), to inspire more people to discover and love the arts.


Potent, provocative and sometimes shocking, the word vulgar conjures up strong images, ideas and feelings in us all. The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined is the first exhibition to consider this inherently challenging but utterly compelling territory of taste.

Designers in the exhibition include: Michael Barnaart van Bergen, Walter van Beirendonck, Manolo Blahnik,Hussein Chalayan, Courrèges, Christian Dior, Erdem, John Galliano, John Galliano for Dior and Maison Margiela, Jean Paul Gaultier, Rudi Gernreich, Nicolas Ghesquiére for Louis Vuitton, Madame Grès, Iris van Herpen, Pam Hogg, Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton, Charles James, Stephen Jones, Mary Katrantzou, Sophia Kokosalaki, Christian Lacroix, Karl Lagerfeld for Chloé and CHANEL, Lanvin, Andrew Logan, Maison Martin Margiela, Malcolm McLaren, Alexander McQueen for Givenchy, Alessandro Michele for Gucci, Miu Miu, Takashi Murakami, Paul Poiret, Prada, Agent Provocateur, Gareth Pugh, Zandra Rhodes, Russell Sage, Yves Saint Laurent, Schiaparelli, Jeremy Scott for Moschino, Raf Simons for Dior, Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy, Philip Treacy, UNDERCOVER (Jun Takahashi), Viktor & Rolf and Vivienne Westwood.

The Vulgar opens at Barbican Art Gallery on 13 October 2016.

Image credit: Ronald Stoops
View our inspiration gallery for costume ideas


About the Barbican Centre

The Barbican’s vision is arts without boundaries. We believe the arts unite, inspire and challenge us all.

As Europe’s largest multi-arts venue, the Barbican presents an ambitious, international programme that crosses art forms, uniting outstanding artists and performers. The world-class programme includes music, theatre, dance, visual arts and cinema.

Around 2 million visitors pass through our doors each year. With thousands of events, there really is something for everyone.

To find more about our amazing work and ways in which you can support the Barbican Centre Trust, visit: www.barbican.org.uk/support-us

Image credit: Camilla Greenwell

Creative Learning

Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning is a pioneering cultural alliance that provides opportunities for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to develop their creativity and skills.

Last year 50,000 people benefitted from our support and took part in activities across music, theatre, spoken word, film and visual arts. We worked with 152 arts and education partners including schools, local authorities, community groups and social welfare charities to design and deliver projects that help young people improve their educational outcomes and employment prospects. The programme has been recognised across the UK as a model of excellence, focussed on impact and collaborative working.

By 2020, we pledge to give every 8-16 year old in east London (c.360,000 young people!) access to outstanding arts events, inspirational, hands-on arts experiences, and training opportunities to help them gain skills for the 21st century economy.

Image credit: Matthew Lloyd

Barbican Centre Trust

The Barbican Centre Trust is a registered charity in England and Wales (294282), dedicated to raising vital funds to support the Barbican Centre’s world-class arts and creative learning programmes.

The Barbican Centre Trust and Event Fundraising Committee raise funds to support initiatives such as:

  • Young Barbican – a free membership scheme offering 50,000 affordable tickets each year to 14 – 25 year olds
  • Large-scale Community Events – Walthamstow Garden Party was attended (for free) by over 32,000 people in 2015, and we’re doing it again this year
  • Young Arts Academy – offering 14-25 year olds practical networking and training opportunities that open doors to professions in the creative and cultural industries
  • Schools Programmes – a range of projects in schools that help young people develop their own creativity, confidence, self-esteem and other important skills for life
  • Groundbreaking new work – we commissions work from artists across every art form at all stages of their career

In return, the Barbican contributes over £47million annually to the London economy.

Image credit: Gar Powell Evans


  • Johnny Bergius (Barbican Ball Chairman)
  • Susannah Bertelsen
  • Jackie Boughton
  • Frances Bridgewater
  • Lynette Brooks
  • Lucy Dawson
  • Michele Fajtmann
  • Anabel Fielding
  • Claire Heaney
  • Celestina Hughes
  • Emma Kane (Barbican Centre Trust Chairman)
  • Patrick Kane
  • Steve Kemp
  • Camilla Lawson
  • Geoffrey Leong
  • June MacGeachy
  • Kate McLauchlan
  • Barbara Merry
  • Adrian Morgan
  • Stephanie Pagni
  • Lucy Rusedski
  • Elizabeth Shaw
  • Steven Tredget
  • Harry Weller
  • Jackie Weller
  • Alice Wilkinson

With special and heartfelt thanks to: Emperor Design for the design, creation and production of all the communications materials, Quintessentially Events for organising the whole event, both pro bono and our Committee for all your dazzling efforts in making the evening such a sparkling treat.


The Barbican Ball 2016 will be held at B1 in the heart of London’s Bloomsbury district. This almost undiscovered urban “white space” will be primped and preened, bedecked and adorned, to provide the perfect backdrop for this glamorous event – London’s ultimate costume ball.

Prepare to be dazzled, dismayed, and delighted.

The entrance to the party will be through The Pop Up Shop, Unit 6, Victoria House, Southampton Row, London WC1B 4DA.


Tom Wilkinson & an Emerald…


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Advertising Opportunities


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Restaurant Lottery


The Barbican Ball Lottery will feature a display of unmarked envelopes holding a voucher for a meal (lunch or dinner) for two/four people worth a min...


Single £500
10 tickets £5000
Single (19-27 y/o)* £250
10 tickets (19-27 y/o)* £2500

The maximum number of tickets that are available for sale is 400.

*75 tickets allocated to this age group

Please contact the Barbican Box Office to book tickets.
Phone: 0207 382 7211 | Email: groups@barbican.org.uk

For information about advertising and sponsorship, please contact Emma Kane: ek@redleafpr.com


  • Founder sponsors
  • Furniture sponsor
  • Digital sponsors
  • Champagne sponsor
  • Drinks sponsors