The story of Lady Gaga and her Japanese heelless shoe guru!

24 June 2010

A casual glance at the Lady Gaga family album might make you think – so many outfits! Where are they all coming from? HOWEVER! The more thorough (*cough* obsessive) Gaga watchers among us know when she really, REALLY takes a shine to a particular piece, she will wear it repeatedly.

As with her creative partnerships with the late Alexander McQueen, the milliner Phillip Treacy and the French avant-garde genius Jean Charles de Castelbajac, she has latched very firmly onto Japanese shoe inventor Noritaka Tatehana.

We present exhibit A, B, and C – Gaga posing for Rolling Stone mag, accessorizing her innovative gun bra with a magenta pair of the nine inch heelless wonders, a pale pair in her video for Alejandro, and the black ones which never seem to be off her feet at the moment – even though they seem to prove a step (ho ho) too far at Heathrow airport yesterday.

Yes, one man is responsible for not only thinking ‘super high shoes are great. But do we really NEED them to have heels?’ but putting his singular idea into practice with the cyber goth beauties that the Lady fell for. And now he has revealed his inspiration in an MTV interview;


"I am interested in history and in the old culture and would like to divert them into [the] modern world. The unique and creative shape comes from "Kan Pokkuri," which used to be clogs made of empty cans. In the old days, Japanese children used to make these clogs, passing a cord through holes made in the cans. After placing each foot on a can, they tried to walk, holding the cord in their hands." (so, stilts then)

He also explains the Gaga connection, “I start making them after talking things over with Nicola” he says, referring to Nicola Formichetti, Lady G’s stylist. Tatehana approached the superstar’s stylist by email, and they eventually met up “he showed great interest in my work."

And it wasn’t long before the poker-faced one was modelling his creations;"she was on a music program when I first saw her wear my shoes. I was very excited and happy because they looked so nice on her. What I create is there solely to bring the best out of the person who wears them. I was thrilled to witness this when I saw Lady Gaga in her new video."

Ah. He’s certainly on the Lady’s wavelength. The hitherto unknown designer is only 25 himself and will have to rush to get his e-commerce website up and running to cater for demand after Gaga brought the attention of her fans around the world to his gravity-defying inventions (Daphne Guinness is the latest convert to heel-less shoes). He’s only just graduated from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts in March this year where he majored in Textile Arts, and launched his own brand while he was still a student. What will he come up with next?

- Naomi Attwood


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