Saturday, August 14, 2010

Designer Profile: Noritaka Tatehana & His New Exhibition

Noritaka Tatehana appears to have soared to unprecedented popularity in the same vein as his most famous patron, ‘overnight’ pop superstar Lady Gaga.

Like Gaga, the Japanese visionary’s ionization into the fashion world seems to be constrained by no bounds, and having an international pop star shifting global media and fashion attention onto his designs, Tatehana sure has solidified (and earned) his unimpeded soar into fashion consciousness.

Noritaka Tatehana graduated from the Tokyo University of the Arts just this year, having specialised in a type of Japanese dyeing called ‘Yuzen’ and ‘Katazome’. Tatehana learnt at a young age from his mother - who he says “teaches how to make Swedish dolls” – of the power of creation and produces shoes and bags using entirely self-taught methods.

Japanese fashion and culture has always fascinated me; from the seemingly innate national obsession with cuteness to the edgy contrasts of youth fashion on the streets of Harajuku. Japan appears to be the only place on Earth where there are no aesthetic rules and avant-garde flourishes out of obscurity and into the everyday wardrobe.

In contrast, I’m also an avid traditionalist when it comes to culture and history and, it would seem, so too is Tatehana. Talking with MTV, the designer explained, “I am interested in history and in the old culture and would like to divert them into modern world.” This is where Tatehana is different.

Tatehana designed the heelless Lady Gaga pumps as homage to “Kan Pokkuri,” which he explains “used to be clogs made of empty cans,” adding that “in the old days, Japanese children used to make these clogs, passing a cord through holes made in the cans.” The designer has also created several pieces which are almost entirely traditional with modern tweaks to satisfy the fashion desires of the Japanese youth.

The idea of a heelless shoe is certainly not new; from Nina Ricci’s fall 2009 heelless creations to costume designer Jochen Kronier’s uber-futuristic sci-fi pumps, which Kronier has produced since the mid-nineties. So what makes Tatehana’s designs so great? His passion! When I look at Tatehana’s work I can literally see the passion that has been concentrated and applied to create the pieces. Every item is expertly hand-crafted, and from his most recent exhibition just this week, showcases beautiful embossed textures and remarkable leather work.

It’s designers like Noritaka Tatehana who make me wish I didn’t say the words ‘amazing’, ‘beautiful’, and ‘awesome’ every four seconds so the words had more meaning when I describe their work! So instead I’ll urge everyone to continue to watch Tatehana, who in his embryonic stage of design, is the next Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo or Christian Louboutin.

Visit Noritaka's website for more information.
Images by

Roman-style shoe showcasing Tatehana's ah-mayzing texture work.

A modern twist on traditional Japanese footwear.

Yes... Those gold skyscrapers are actually really, really, really high shoes!


  1. OMG! I think I'm in love! haha. The pink ones are really nice.

  2. Martinis & ManolosAugust 14, 2010 at 3:58 AM

    Love ur post. I really like Noritaka as well, but some of the shoes are a bit scary! lol

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. Fucking gorgeous <3


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