Day 2: Geniune Lady Gaga Platforms from Noritaka Tatehana

So, I started off writing the second of our "12 Days of Xmas" posts about a pair of shoes my friend Dominique of the stunning wedding photography duo Love Me Sailor and I recently saw ("we were ready to pull a bitch by her hair out of the dance cage at Rhondavous for wearing the shoes we had been lusting after"). But after some research, I've discovered something better. MUCH better. Behold, the work of platform shoe artist and Lady Gaga cobbler Noritaka Tatehana

If you can't control your boner for Tatehana's work like I can't...

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Now, none of Noritaka Tatehana's shoes are for the faint of foot, but I like to think I've been working towards my platform blackbelt. Tatehana's shoes are stunning, gravity-defying explorations of fashion, whose conceptual designs are on the cusp of art. Archival pieces are currently being exhibited at the Comme des Garcons Trading Museum and shop in their Paris and Tokyo locations and Dover Street Market in London.

The young designer (a mere 26 years-old) was born in Japan and mentions his family came into money from the "centre of an entertainment and red-light district in Tokyo". The red-light district inspiration can certainly be seen in his work. Starting at 15, he taught himself fashion design and construction processes, later majoring in dyeing and weaving in college. Currently, every single one of his pieces are hand-executed by Tatehana himself! You can't ask for better craftsmanship for shoes ranging from $2,500 - $4,000. Many designer shoes are already in that price range, but can you imagine how much a shoe completely handmade by Christian Louboutin himself, or Karl Lagerfeld himself would cost??
The man himself, makin' your shoes

While no new collections are up for sale on his site, you can still special order pieces from the Tokyo  Trading Museum Comme des Garcons:

Opening hours AM11:00-PM6:00
2F GYRE Bldg 5-10-1 Jingumae Shibuya Tokyo 1500001, JAPAN
TEL +81 (0) 3 3486 8590 

Aaand for those of you who aren't quite up to task for Tatehana's shoes, or perhaps live in the real world and plan on walking on real streets, copy king Jeffrey Campbell's "Night Walker" shoe is a fantastic alternative for the much more affordable price of $170.00. While Tatehana's pieces are a crash course, Campbell's shoes are a nice, gentle beginner's lesson in footwear ergonomics without being ankle-breakingly dangerous (and nowhere near as gorgeous).

EDIT: My friend Joshua reminded me that Campbell's Night Walkers are a direct reproduction of another platform diva's go-to shoe designer Natacha Marro. That diva? Why self-styling fashion maven Ms. Daphne Guiness of course.

Nicolas Kirkwood Creates Keith Haring Shoe Collection

As respected, revered and repeated as Andy Warhol and Jean Michel Basquiat, artist Keith Haring's work has continued to grace us decades after the activist and pop graffiti artist's passing due to AIDs in 1990. His latest art/fashion straddling latest was created by shoe designer and Rodarte darling Nicolas Kirkwood. The English designer takes Haring's iconic interconnected patterns and figures and infuses them with both architectural and humorous shoe designs (knee-high roller skates anyone?).

The artist painting one of his signature patterns

Online fashion, arts and culture site Nowness conducted an interview with Kirkwood about Haring's influence and bringing his work to footwear.

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But this isn't Haring's first footwear collaboration. Just last spring Tommy Hilfiger released a capsule collection of sneakers and rainboots for men, women and children in collaboration with the Keith Haring Foundation, which assists in AIDs-related and children's charities.

Check out some highlights from the Haring x Kirkwood collection from Kirkwood's boutique launch in London.

Personal fave

LOVE / LUST: Stacked Rainbow Platforms x Stud Saturated Boots

Oh Jeffrey, you never miss a beat. Instead of making another made-for-the-masses designer knockoff from the latest season, Campbell went all the way back to 1938, recreating a Ferragamo design made for Judy Garland. While the design may not be as famous as Garland's ruby red slippers rom the Wizard of Oz, the originals were still celebrated in an archival installation last year. I'm torn between Campbell's replicas and the Chica rainbow platforms, which is better?
The $2,500 original (obviously the best). I initially thought they were painted wood platforms, but they're actually wrapped in dyed suede. So posh!

Click through to see my LUST:

Handmade Studded Booties - $3,500, Patricia Field
Patricia Field's shoe selection is KILLING it right now. I just about fell out of my chair when my friend Dominique from Love Me Sailor sent me a link to these boots. They're a total mess and practically unwearable and I lust for them like crazy! Perhaps not as violently chic as the Crystal Spike Shoe Harness, but has a post-apocalyptic, robotic glam worthy of Bowie himself (or Optimus Prime if he ever wanted to do runway). The "handmade" tag on these shoes makes my own craftiness start ticking, perhaps I'll be a one-woman Jeffrey Campbell and knock these off myself!

LOVE/LUST: Gaga-esque "Magic" Leopard Platforms

Magic Leopard Platform - $118, Nasty Gal
When I saw these booties, they just had to have their own LOVE/LUST feature. For $118, less than what most Jeffrey Campbell shoes sell for, it's a steal for the design. But what I'm unsure of is if I'd actually wear them? No doubt I like them, I'm absolutely nuts for them! But could $118 be better spent? With an EIGHT inch heel height, that makes out to $14.75/inch, while most mid-priced shoes would be double the price per inch.

My previous purchase of a 6.25'' platform wedge proved to be ill-made since the arch of the heel is still quite high. Basically when you walk, you have a constant feeling of falling forward. Despite how crazy I am about these shoes, I won't be able to get drunk in them:

"Mercer" by Michael Antonio Studio - $99, Amazon ($15.84/inch)

The "Magic" leopard platforms appear to have a lower arch, the equivalent of a 3.5'' heel (very low in my book). But there could be other difficulties with the "heel" of the sole being so far underneath the foot. I'm crossing my fingers I'll find these downtown in the cheap fashion district for half the price.

What are your thoughts: Would you wear the Magic Leopard Platforms (more than once)?

Style Breakdown: 9 of Spring's Strangest Heels

With the weather starting to warm up, designers are rolling their tan and toe-airing footwear. Scrolling through my trusty online shops, I've noticed an influx of interesting plaforms--some beauties, some beasts. Here's just a handful of Spring's strangest shoe styles.

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Frame by United Nude - $545.00,
United Nude has some of the most structually fascinating shoes on the market right now, and no wonder: The line was founded by an architect and shoemaker. I can easily imagine a 50 ft version of these installed in a public space. Modern buildings and modern heels are both in the business of defying gravity, right?
Two Hundred by Ego and Greed - $89.99,
Dubbed the "flatform" I was surprised to see shoemakers return to the sole that ravers, Spice Girls and Misfits (think creepers) made popular back in 90s. In a sandal, it just feels like treatment for an orthopedic ailment.

Leopard Open Toe Platform by Estelle - $750.00,
An almost flatform, its not so much the shape as the colors that make me cringe. It's not so much leopard, as it is a block of melted, crispy cheese. Combined with the meaty/bacon-y silk ruffles and shiny surface, these shoes are more fit for a greasy diner than for an equally greasy disco.

Femmes by Gee Wa Wa - $219.95,
Despire the oppressively heavy looking platform and the fact it looks like a headless cat cartoon when you squint, this style has a wonderful balance between feminine and badass. Dubbed a "claw" heel, the cut out platform actually reminds me of the Shel Silverstein book The Missing Piece.

Ferme by Jeffrey Campbell - $222.00,
File these under "Are You Serious?" These are true platforms because they look like shoes from the Medieval Times costume closet standing on their own little stages. There's no attempt to blend the two pieces, at least have the suede part of the heel be wood? An awful case of leftovers being tossed together.

Space Wood Wedge Sandal by Minimarket - $369.95,
Finally, a stylish solution to Shape-Ups! Ok maybe not, but this salad bowl-round platform is a solution to the chucky wedge without being too clunky. A great Swedish brand, their sunglasses are worth checking out as well.

Monroe Python Wedge by Carin Wester - $348.00,
They may not seem strange now, but do a Google Image search on "foot binding" and you'll see why the color and placement of the platform notch weirds me out.

Skate by Jeffrey Campbell - $214.95,
I guess the idea was to look like an old fashioned ice skate or sled, but to me it looks like scraps from a rocking chair or door frame. Nice concept, but too This Old House in its execution. Again, another example of Jeffrey Campbell just slapping anything together.
Crystallization by Iris van Herpen x United Nude - $995.00,
LUST LUST LUST! We've featured the Iris van Herpen x United Nude Synthesia boot before and had to give props to their other collaboration design. Utterly sexy, utterly unique, this style comes in three colors and also with chains instead of leather laces woven all over. I'm dying, I'm dead.

Lady Gaga x Supreme by Terry Richardson for Purple Magazine

Hardly a fashion spread so much as legs spread, Terry Richardson shot Lady Gaga in his usual pervy way and published the photos in Purple Magazine. The set was originally shot for Vogue Homme Japan, the issue with her wearing the meat bikini on the cover that enraged PETA. No, it's not an official collaboration between the singer and NYC skate brand Supreme, whose biggest advocate right now is probably hip hop delinquents Odd Future. But damned if she doesn't make Supreme look good.

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LOVE / LUST: Dark Crystals x Crystal Spikes


Raphael Young "Dark Crystal" Ankleboot - Sale for $843.75, Seven New York
Although a definite allusion to the The Dark Crytal movie (which I didn't see until last year...), these boots would belong better on David Bowie's feet in Labyrinth.


(In) Decorous Taste 25 Stud/3 Crystal Spikeed Shoe Harness Pair - $695.00, Seven New York
What did I tell you about this year being about clear spikes? Unfortunately the shoes are not included, but these gorgeous shit kickers (that work on men's shoes as well) would be a deadly addition to the mosh pit.

And a note about Seven New York online, dont you love how the models are shot from so low to the floor you can see their asses from the front?