London - after a Fashion By Alistair O'Neill

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The Independent Culture

In eight intriguing essays, O'Neill pursues fashions that blossomed in London over the past century. We learn that the craze for tattooing is nothing new. Emma de Burgh displayed The Last Supper on her shoulders in the 1890s. (Burne-Jones noted she was "very stout... the apostles had broad grins.") Other topics include the lingering influence of a surrealist hat and the highly contrived "masculinity" of Francis Bacon. Unlike today's kaleidoscopically repeating fashions, these styles were idiosyncratic and had scant connection with Vogue.

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