Issey Miyake was perhaps the first of many designers who surely will come to Washington to see the Gauguin show at the National Gallery's East Building. The Japanese designer loved the paintings and the presentation and said it will have a great effect on him. "It could bring the end of the intellectualization of Japanese design," Miyake suggested at dinner at Sushi-Ko following his viewing of the show recently. "I want to use color and more color, particularly after seeing this show."

Miyake was on his way back to Japan from Rutgers University, where he was a speaker in a two-day seminar on "The Japanese Influence in America," along with former Japanese prime minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, former U.S. ambassador to Japan Edwin Reischauer, architect Tadao Ando, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies Dean George Packard and journalist David Halberstam.

"To me, clothes should not be things which confine or enclose the body ... {rather} clothes should make one free and feel like being oneself. I think they are one of the best ways of expressing the liberation of the body and the mind," Miyake said in his lecture, showing slides of loose and comfortable kimonos and a video of his own clothes to make the point. "Maybe I make tools. People buy the clothes and the clothes become tools for the wearer's creativity ... a dialogue between myself and the wearer." He calls this intuitive communication A-un, a familiar Japanese word from the Buddhist heritage.

The point also will be made handsomely in a book of Irving Penn photographs of Miyake's designs that will be published to coincide with the opening of a new exhibition of them at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris in the fall and later released in English here. It is bound to be the best Christmas book for the fashion crowd this year.

Toe Tantalizers Tucked away in a corner of the DAR Museum is a Cinderella of a show. All about shoes, "In Step With Time" captures the sweetness of a silk brocade pump, the charm of a sparkling buckle, the simple elegance of a velvet moccasin. The only sad note: None of the shoes is for sale.

It's not a large exhibition, just a tiny taste of centuries-old footwear, but the selections made by curator Diane Berger are jewels. There are several shiny museum cases, arranged chronologically from the mid-18th to mid-19th century, filled with the finest slippers of all kinds -- with high throats and pointy toes, tied with ribbons and battened with buckles. Adorned in every way, these shoes are reminiscent of the fanciful, expensive creations of Manolo Blahnik, Roger Vivier or Christian Lacroix.

"These little pink slippers started it all," says Berger, wearing lovely cap-toe Chanel pumps and gesturing to a pair of pointy slippers (London, circa 1790) with shiny green silk tassels at the toes and flat, curvy "baby Louis" heels (above). Berger discovered 50 pairs of shoes while recataloguing the DAR costume collection and fell in love with them. Twenty are on display.

The show at the DAR Museum, 1776 D St. NW, is ongoing, with no closing date.

-- Martha Sherrill Dailey

Neckwear for the Splinter Faction Timber!We've seen ties of every fiber, and now they come in wood. Choices, fortunately, are not painted pink or yellow, but are oil-rubbed red oak, cherry, black walnut or cedar. Flexible and backed in wool, they can be shortened or reshaped with a knife, but not widened, of course. The neck size is adjustable with the help of Velcro. Available for $22.95 from Sunrise Manor, Dept. WP-688, Blake Building, P.O. Box 1378, Gilroy, Calif. 95021.

Another Father's Day suggestion: the Smithsonian Institution has given Schreter Neckwear in Baltimore the license to produce a line of ties spun off from its exhibits and artifacts. Among the items featured on the first nine ties are the Stanley Steamer, the Wurlitzer bubble jukebox, the Wright brothers' airplane and the space shuttle. In Washington they are carried by Corbin's (in the Washington Hilton), Nickleby's and Its Only Natural.

Coiffure du Jour:

The Hollywood Look Just when you thought men's haircuts didn't really make a difference, along comes news to the contrary. From Boston and the salon of John Dellaria comes a collection of cuts from the Hollywood days. The hair is "scissor razored," then butch-waxed to help hold its shape and give it a just-out-of-the-shower high gloss.

And from the World Intercoiffure meeting in Hamburg comes a report from Washington hair stylist Robin Weir, who says waves are in, whether hair is long or short. For men the look is a layered cut, longer on top with a light permanent wave. According to Weir, highlights are a must, and the style also is becoming when wet.

Notes de la Mode

Wewould have bet there weren't many minis on the streets of Moscow these days. But an Associated Press photographer spotted one in Red Square, looking as nifty as the ones on Washington women.

If you've tried them, you know that black opaque stockings are not very comfortable in the summer. Instead, go the route of most of the New York designers with naturally nude hose -- not "suntanned," but nude.

You know it's a pretty dull time in the fashion business when the mail brings you "The Best Ears of Our Lives" from the Diamond Corp. Of course you're dying to know the winners. But you could have guessed: Diana, the princess of Wales, Joan Collins, Carol Channing, Raquel Welch, Raisa Gorbachev. It's all too silly to go on, except to add that actor/dancer Gregory Hines is also on the list. "Hines can turn a jeweled ear into an abject male fashion statement, a complete, normal look." We agree, that's no small accomplishment.

If there are no flowers in your garden yet, Butterick Pattern No. 6490 will get you awfully close to the real thing. Pick a fabric rose that matches your outfit -- or one in a giddy contrast -- to pin on your clothes or in your hair.