many social gatherings, check out the high necks, ties and other constrictions that indicate the rigid formalities and tensions that lay beneath the surface. Back in England, more pared back looks dominated as art nouveau’s Japonisme flooded through art, design and wider culture as in Whistler’s famous woman in white currently on show at the Dulwich Picture Gallery (from 16 Oct). But fashion isn’t just about frippery. Take Miyako Ishiuchi’s haunting photography show at the Michael Hoppen Gallery. Her unsettling, close up images of the fabled Meisen silk kimono, worn during the Whistler and Viennese heydays, transforms this iconic national garment into conceptual art. Furthermore fashion takes on a poetic tone as Ishiuchi’s photo- graphs of Hiroshima damaged dresses, jackets and children’s bootees bring home this and other man-made horrors. Finally at Gimpel Fils (from 15 October), Corinne Day’s early work high-lights fashion’s fast spinning cycle, capturing the orig- inal 90s grunge look with its skinny jeans and skimpy vests à la early Kate Moss which is back in vogue this season, thanks to Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent. Melanie Abrams London style on the catwalks and in the clubs of the 1980s. It was the Thatcher era when the fabric of life was being ripped apart à la Vivienne Westwood’s bondage trousers and clashing often vio- lently like Wendy Dagworthy’s vibrant prints. It was also the birth of bling when only those who wore outfits like Pam Hogg’s fetish gold leather bodysuit were allo- wed into the coolest clubs such as the Wag, Blitz or Taboo. For more glittering sophisti- cation, see the Pearls show, also at the V&A to 21 January 2014. As perennial symbols of power and wealth, these precious gems epitomise the status symbols of each generation. Take Elizabeth I, who used her extravagant multi-strand pearls to emphasise Tudor England’s rich- ness and strength, whilst Marilyn Monroe’s simple Mikimoto pearl choker added a touch of purity and girl-next-door to her sex sym- bol image. Pearl power even de- fined cultures such as the early 20th century Viennese bour- geoisie. Their pearl collier de chien bracelets were not just for the opera but also when posing for their Gustav Klimt painted portraits. Some of these images are at the National Gallery (from 9 October) which is showcasing Viennese society during the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Among the soft chiffon and lace at the earthy palette and peasant the- mes towards brilliant colour and lyrical, boldly rhythmic brush- strokes; paintings that, meta- phorically speaking, looked up at the sky rather than down at the ground. To show this, not only have they brought together a wonderful group of Van Goghs, among them one of the first great self-portraits from 1886 to start using this stronger colour (from The Hague) and one of the series of the artist’s shoes, as well as a number of his Paris city views painted with his increasingly high-pitched palette, but also beautifully selected works by the artists he met and works he would most probably have known – Monet’s View of Bennecourt (1887) , Lautrec’s La Blanch- isseuse 1886-7 among them, not to mention, of course, Japanese prints. A show, quite simply, not to be missed. NU As London proves it is still fash- ion’s favourite capital, this month sees a slew of shows that unveil fashion’s role in defining a zeitgeist. Where better to start than the Victoria & Albert Mus- eum which celebrates the birth of FASHION art&photography Images from left: D erek Ridgers ‘Trojan and Mark at Taboo, 1986’ at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Gustav Klimt ‘Portrait of Hermine Gallia’ 1904 at The National Gallery, London. Miyako Ishiuchi ‘Hiroshima #9’, 2007 at Michael Hoppen Gallery. James Abbott McNeill Whistler ‘Symphony in White No.2’, at Dulwich Picture Gallery.