May 9, 2011

The More You Know: Tokio Kumagai

One of my favorite things about the internet is learning more history of fashion tidbits. Today I was searching for some images of Anne Marie Beretta designs, which led me to a page for Fashion: The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute: A History from the 18th to the 20th Century. This book proved to be a fantastic scroll. Plenty o' images. 

This page in particular caught my eye. I went on to learn that Tokio Kumagai lived from 1948-1987, attended the Bunka Fashion College (alumni including Kenzo Takada, Yohji Yamamoto and Tsumori Chisato), then worked in Paris for Castlebajac and in Italy for Cerruti before opening his shoe boutique in 1980.  

His 1984 "Shoes to Eat" collection seems to be among the most internet archived. In addition to the beans and rice and sundae shoes above, he made meat shoes.

He also created shoes with faces, legs, race cars, geese, and mice.

And while the shoes that look like things that are not shoes are a nice lil piece of fashion history, Kumagai also made timeless and fully wearable t-straps, oxfords, and slip on flats in basic colors. The best catalog of his work is on this page, Hommage à Tokio Kumagai, which includes some clothing and vintage editorials as well as many more shoes. 

Aside from reinforcing my belief that neither Gaga nor Marc Jacobs have ever had an original idea (but maybe no one does anymore, so it's fine), tonight's internet fashion history moment has given me another Japanese fashion designer to admire and add to my searches on etsy and ebay. Turns out these were once available on the former:
Which bring me to a different topic: Would you buy a used shoe this stretched out and dirty? I'm on the hypothetical fence.


Michael said...

I've bought shoes way worse-looking than that. And I would snap those last ones up in a second if I had the chance.

frédéric asselineau said...

Here are my kumagaï shoes :

Rebecca bush said...

I am from Shreveport, La, but I lived in New Zealand for 23 years.
One day in the early/mid 80s. Some friends and I were shopping at a high-end second-hand clothing store.
I spotted these divine Italian white leather flats...something about them! The saleswoman reckoned the were a steal st $28. I had them for ten years and the still looked the same!
A friends dog chewed one of them up and I was gutted!
I recently tried to find a replacement by looking on eBay ect and that is when I realized that this guy was an artist.
They rate up there with my 1962 Gibson guitar as one of my favorite all time things....