4 posts tagged "Noritaka Tatehana"
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” »
Noritaka Tatehana’s Heel-less Holiday Collection, Inside Dior Couture, Marks And Spencers’ Lingerie Ad Has Too Much Spice, And More…
Noritaka Tatehana, who designs Lady Gaga’s heel-less shoes, has created a Christmas collection, available at Trading Museum Comme des Garçons in Tokyo through December 25. Here’s the catch—the five pairs he made, in white, silver, and crystal, only come in one size. [Hint]
The chiffon dress Amy Winehouse donned for her Back to Black cover album sold for £43,200, or around $67,500, at yesterday’s auction. The dress was bought by the Fundacion Museo de la Moda in Chile. [Huff Po]
Using roughly 150 dresses, suits, and coats, Patrick Demarchelier offers his take on fashion and the house of Dior in his new tome Dior Couture. Of the book, The New York Times‘ Cathy Horyn says, “It’s obvious from Dior Couture that Mr. Demarchelier loves taking pictures of beautiful women, but his photos almost always have an extra quality: he also understands how clothes should look on the body.” [NYT]
A Marks and Spencer lingerie ad has been deemed too sexy for the bus. The ad, featuring a woman in a bra, panties, and stockings on a bed, had appeared on buses in the U.K., but the Advertising Standards Agency declared it “socially irresponsible.” [Telegraph]
After a ribbon cutting with the Lady herself and the requisite party, Lady Gaga’s 5,500-square-foot winter wonderland at Barneys opens at 11:59 p.m. tonight. The space has been designed and curated by the pop star, along with collaborators Nicola Formichetti, Assume Vivid Astro Focus, and the retailer’s creative director, Dennis Freedman, and features a wide array of exclusive products for the occasion. There are all of the oddities you might expect (including a click-to-hatch toy version of La Gaga in her famous Hussein Chalayan egg from the Grammy Awards), and Gaga being Gaga, shoes of all kinds. There are shoe cookies by the New York bakery Eleni’s, shaped like McQueen’s famous 12″ armadillo platforms, and Noritaka Tatehana’s heelless towers, a giant chocolate McQueen shoe, several varieties of shoe stockings, and a pair of shoe earrings by Yottoi. And for those in the market for an actual shoe, there’s one centerpiece version on display: A $4,100 Tatehana in black or white.
Plus, check back tomorrow for our complete coverage of the opening party.
Though she takes an occasional tumble, Lady Gaga loves difficult footwear, like the heel-less boots she’s been wearing frequently of late. She pulled them on again for the September issue of Vanity Fair, where Nick Knight snapped her leaping midair in a pair of heel-less platforms by the young Japanese designer Noritaka Tatehana. But the Lady is only the most recent fan of the gravity-defying style, and Tatehana only the latest to take up the heel-free challenge. Below, recent snapshots from the annals of heel-less cobblers—and their famous fans, too.
Marc Jacobs’ “backwards” heels, Spring 2008.
Victoria Beckham wears Antonio Berardi’s thigh-high PVC heel-less boots to the launch of her fragrance in NYC, September 2008; the boots hit the runway in Berardi’s Fall 2008 show. Continue Reading “Heel-Less Shoes: A Brief History” »