Japan inspires Gaga's shoe designer

YURI KAGEYAMA
The Associated Press
Modified: June 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm •  Published: June 8, 2012
Advertisement
;

photo - Lady Gaga poses as she visits the Tokyo Sky Tree, the world's tallest freestanding broadcast structure that stands 634-meter (2,080 feet), in Tokyo Tuesday, May 15, 2012. Lady Gaga might have to cancel her sold-out show in Indonesia because Islamic hard-liners and conservative lawmakers objected. National police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar said the permit was denied for the June 3, 2012,
Lady Gaga poses as she visits the Tokyo Sky Tree, the world's tallest freestanding broadcast structure that stands 634-meter (2,080 feet), in Tokyo Tuesday, May 15, 2012. Lady Gaga might have to cancel her sold-out show in Indonesia because Islamic hard-liners and conservative lawmakers objected. National police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar said the permit was denied for the June 3, 2012, "Born This Way" concert that was to be the biggest show on her Asian tour. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT, NO LICENSING IN CHINA, HONG KONG, JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA AND FRANCE

TOKYO — A Japanese shoe designer has become a pop diva's favorite by taking geisha and making it Gaga.

Noritaka Tatehana is the man behind Lady Gaga's towering, cloglike shoes, which have no heel and are 25 to 46 centimeters (10 to 18 inches) tall. Her appearances on TV shows and music videos, teetering in his creations, have helped make him such a fashion star that some of his shoes sell for more than $15,000 a pair.

Tatehana, who has made more than 20 pairs for Lady Gaga over the last two years, said he took the traditional "geta" shoes of geishas and made a modern form with his sculptural platforms.

"My work became an icon. It worked not only as branding for me. It also became part of her branding," Tatehana said in a recent interview at his Tokyo workshop, cluttered with art books and his sleek shoes — some glittering with Swarovski crystals, others with golden studs.

The 26-year-old, who evokes the pensive mood of a monk with his quiet voice, long hair tied back in a bun and baggy Yohji Yamamoto pants, was still a student when his career took off. In fact, Lady Gaga's first pair of Tatehanas had been the subject of his graduation thesis at the prestigious Tokyo University of the Arts, where he studied traditional weaving and kimono dyeing.

He made the shoes with pink, reptilian-looking leather from a stingray, common in Japanese crafts such as decoration for swords. He started his fashion brand by trumpeting the design in an email he sent to dozens of people in the industry.

He received just three responses: one from a blogger, one from a journalist and one from Lady Gaga's stylist.

Lady Gaga was not available for comment. But fashion guru and beer heiress Daphne Guinness said she is a big fan.

"I am so happy to have a friend who speaks the same language as me — not English or Japanese, but the language of art, which transcends linguistics," Guinness said. "He is truly a unique talent."



Trending Now


AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    Report: Florida State WR Jesus Wilson arrested, suspended for stealing motor scooter
  2. 2
    Listen to Britney Spears sing without Auto-Tune
  3. 3
    'Walking Dead' shut out of major Emmy categories
  4. 4
    Little Boy's Heartwarming Back-To-School Video Goes Viral
  5. 5
    Ellen DeGeneres Ready for 'Next Phase' of Her Career
+ show more