Renowned Japanese shoe designer Noritaka Tatehana talks innovative design process incorporating traditional craft skills with a demonstration of Japanese Yūzen-zome dyeing technique. Tatehana’s iconic Heel-less Shoes, as presented in the Hi! Fashion exhibition at National Design & Craft Gallery, are both contemporary and reflective of Japanese tradition, enabling them to move back and forth across the borders both of innovation and tradition, of local culture and global sentiment.
“The idea actually came from Takageta (high-heeled clogs) worn by Oiran (courtesans). When I was learning the traditional Japanese dyeing techniques of Yūzen-zome at the University, I created Kimono and Geta after the model of classics. The Japanese stylised flat-plane art, and spatial art founded on Western anatomical research seemed to me to be opposite values. However, the place where both co-exist is today’s Japan. It is this condition of Japan today, which received an influx of American culture after the War, that allows for the hidden possibility of rebuilding Japan’s cultural values.” Noritaka Tatehana
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About the Designer:
Noritaka Tatehana (b.1985, Tokyo) studied Fine Arts and Japanese Crafts at the Tokyo University of the Arts, and later majored in dyeing and weaving. His study focused on Oiran, courtesans in the Meiji period, creating Kimono and Geta Sandals using the Yūzen-zome traditional dyeing method. His 2010 graduation project, Heel-less Shoes, now his signature design, showcased his ability to incorporate traditional Japanese craft techniques into desirable, contemporary forms. These dramatic designs caught the attention of Lady Gaga which led to a fruitful and ongoing collaboration with the singer. Tatehana has taken part in exhibitions around the world and in March 2016, he directed a Ningyo-joruri Bunraku show, performed at Fondation Cartier pour l’art Contemporain in France. His works are held in the public collections of museums globally, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.