2 posts tagged "Masaya Kushino"
Throughout Tokyo fashion week, we’ve had Misha Janette reporting on the city’s most exciting shows. To see Style.com’s complete Tokyo fashion week coverage, click here.
Saturday marked the sixth and final day of Tokyo fashion week, and it was dedicated to the city’s top menswear designers. Comme des Garçons itself doesn’t show in Tokyo, but it was exciting to see its youthful Ganryu label (left) take to the catwalk. Designed by Fumito Ganryu, who was formerly a patternmaker for Junya Watanabe, Ganryu showed a Fall '13 range that catered to an urban huntsman—a man who pairs cable-knit sweaters and puffy down vests with super low drop-crotch pants and high maintenance coifs. A dress shirt with trompe l’oeil vest appliqué showed off Ganryu’s progressive nature.
Facetasm focused on separates in its collection of layered workwear-cum-dress clothes. Kilts, slips, peplums, and sleeve-only bolero jackets all made an appearance. Each piece boasted its own details, like basket-weaving and original line drawings of a forest or old-school tattoos. For the women, there were formfitting silhouettes with pastel-colored ruffled trim.
Making its debut on Saturday was Mr. Gentleman, a brand headed by Takeshi “Big-O” Osumi of popular menswear brand Phenomenon, and Yuichi Yoshii, who is the director of Tokyo’s top multi-brand superstore, The Contemporary Fix. Together, they produced a casual and modern wardrobe that featured slim-cut tweed leisure suits and retro letterman jackets. For a twist, the designers showed a leather-lined and zipper-trimmed peacoat and an argyle-print jacket.
The week closed with a large-scale installation show by new label C.E. With former BAPE designer Skate Thing at its creative helm, the brand used 3-D mapping technology to create a kaleidoscopic fashion feast. C.E.’s standouts, like hoodies and colorful board shorts, furthered the familiar urban look that Skate Thing does best.
What is it about women and shoes? According to Dr. Valerie Steele, the director and chief curator of The Museum at FIT and the author of Shoes: A Lexicon of Style (among many other fashion books), the fixation dates back to Cinderella and her glass slippers. But that doesn’t necessarily explain women’s willingness to defy death, gravity, and blisters with the super-stacked platforms and needle-thin spikes of modern day. Shoe Obsession, The Museum at FIT’s upcoming exhibition (which, running from February 8 through April 13, was curated by Dr. Steele, Colleen Hill, and Fred Dennis), explores the female shoe fetish via some of the most iconic, outrageous, and exceptional styles that have come out this century.
Including shoes from established houses (Christian Louboutin’s Pigalle stilettos, Roger Vivier’s feather Eyelash pumps, Prada’s flame shoes, and Chanel’s gun heels), up-and-coming talents (Nicholas Kirkwood’s graffitied Keith Haring platforms, Charlotte Olympia’s Kiss Me Dolores pumps), and experimental designers (Masaya Kushino’s sculptural human hair, Cyprus wood, and lace platforms; Noritaka Tatehana’s eighteen-inch ballerina shoes), Shoe Obsession presents every type of high heel you can imagine—and several that you can’t. Here, Dr. Steele talks to Style.com about the fascination with extravagant shoes, the evolution of contemporary footwear, and the upcoming exhibition.
Let’s cut to the chase. Why are so many women obsessed with shoes?
Well, I think there are a couple of layers. First off, shoes are an intimate extension of the physical body. And they seem to say a lot about our personality, our sexual attitudes, and our social status. And high heels in particular seem to be the focus of a lot of our thoughts about gender, sexuality, eroticism, and femininity. I think there’s definitely an element of sexual fetishism involved in men’s fascination with women’s high-heel shoes. But for women, I think it’s not fetishism so much as it is an obsession with fashion and with shoes as the ultimate sartorial symbol of erotic femininity.
Have women always been obsessed with shoes, or was there a point in fashion history when the infatuation really took off?
It goes way back to Cinderella. Shoes have played an important role in cultural thought for a long time. In Qui êtes-vous, Polly Maggoo?, a film from the sixties about French fashion, there’s a wonderful scene when a TV reporter is interviewing some pompous French sociology professor who says that the Cinderella story is all about the importance of tiny feet and beautiful shoes. Then he says, “So there you are: fetishism, mutilation, pain. Fashion in a nutshell.” [Laughs] But I do think that our show is unique, because we’re not just looking at the social and psychosexual reasons why we all love shoes. We’re focusing on the twenty-first century and calling attention to the fact that in the last twelve years or so, after the end of Sex and the City, the obsession with high-end designer shoes has spread from something that only a few people were really obsessed with to being something that everybody’s obsessed with.
Why have heels risen to such hilariously high heights in the past few decades? And what dictates heel height?
I think the key element there is the acceptance of hypersexual shoe design as part of fashion, as opposed to just a corner of the pornographic industry. Before he died, Helmut Newton said in an interview that in the seventies, you had to go to fetish and porn stores to get the kind of shoes he wanted for his fashion photographs. But by the early nineties, he could go to any high fashion designer—Chanel, Dior, they were all doing fetish-y shoes. So that’s one thing, which I think is crucial to the recent growth of heels. Another is the popularity of platforms on shoes. If you’ve got a two-inch platform, automatically your heel can go from three to five inches, or from four to six, or whatever you want.
What makes women willing to shell out so much money for a pair of shoes that they may or may not be able to walk in?
Part of it is that shoe shopping is probably the highest form of fashion shopping. It’s the most pleasurable. I mean, who doesn’t look good in a pair of beautiful shoes? And compare it with something like bathing-suit shopping, which is the nadir of horror. Also, you can get a lot more fashion bang for your buck with a pair of shoes. You know, it might be a thousand dollars, but if you’re going to buy a jacket or a dress by that same or a comparable designer, you’d be talking three, four thousand dollars or up. And right now, people are, in a way, dressing in more of a uniform. For instance, many people just wear a well-cut pair of jeans and a great black jacket. But with shoes, they can play and transform themselves—they can change the style image that they’re creating. Continue Reading “FIT’s Foot Fetish” »