Without anything verging on a shadow of doubt Hiromu Takahara is the biggest force in men’s Japanese street fashion. Not content with founding the dominating luxury brand Roen, he went on to create a footwear brand that he named after himself. Appropriate that he would do so, as his original training out of design school was in shoes, so perhaps this is the fashion that the designer himself identifies most strongly with over Roen. You might well recognise hints of his designs from various 109-2 favorites – especially Sabgreed – but for the real trend-setter that started the vast majority of trends in footwear you have to look to the man himself.
Join me as we take a very close look at this guy’s shoes, and if you make it to the end without wanting to buy a pair then I will be truly surprised.
It should be said at the outset that this is largely a male brand, but they do produce (amazing) women’s shoes as well. On top of that, given that this is an off-shoot of Roen a lot of the shoes are produced in collaboration with Roen or branded as Roen and so on, a tricky business, but fairly typical of Japanese brands with all their little off-shoots. On with the boots –
In recent years, this has been the style that Hiromu Takahara has been associated with – the butter knife shoe. A pretty nifty design to go with a sharp suit if you ask me, and has since been copied by pretty much everyone.
A good call on the internal laces on this one and proof that when it comes to any colour out of the ordinary in men’s shoes, the rest of the shoe is best left simple.
No stranger to the exotic leather, Hiromu Takahara can be relied on to just let the materials do the talking in his smarter pieces. I love the mix of textures and colours on the snake on these.
Now, I know this might be a step too far for some, but this is the reason that I love this guy’s work. The mix of finishes on these and unfinished edges all get massive approval from me and the higher on the leg, the better where I am concerned.
Classic engineer boot, but check out the detailing on the strap – you can just imagine how great these are going to look as that black finish starts to wear away.
Needless to say all of these shoes use the “real thing” in materials. No messing around with fake leather and copper parts – these will last as long as you need them to.
But as you probably have guessed, these shoes all come with a price tag to match. Certainly justified, but that is where 109-2 comes in in making homages in faux-leather for those who don’t want to spend 100000 yen on a pair of shoes – lord knows I would not blame you.
Not much to say on these – simply gorgeous.
Now these put a smile on my face – completely snake skin covered traditional Japanese sandals. Not sure when you would wear them, but these are just so obscene and I am so very glad that someone actually made these. With Hiromu Takahara, whether you love his work or not, you have to admire that he pushes boundaries – occasionally of taste – and makes men’s shoes the works of art that women have long been accustomed to.
Speaking of taste… These are a collaboration with Roen – as you might very well have noticed – for those who want the ultimate slip-on shoe.
Having seen the overall design I thought we could have a really close look at one of my personal favorites from the current season.
From the side.
Enjoying the stud detailing.
The signature skull and crossbones, this time on a nice bit of snake.
The whole boot has had the patent leather effect worn away in places to create an amazingly rich texture.
Oh yeah, and even the soles are awesome.
Now I know that this is pretty extreme and he puts out an awful lot of stuff that I would only ever wear at a handful of parties per year –
But you have to keep in mind that everything is made to be exceptional, so there are going to be times when your taste and the designers don’t align, but equally he will often put something out that fits your style so perfectly it is impossible to imagine an improvement.
The clientele in Japan tends to be of the celebrity and musician set, but civilians can pick him up at the usual select shops and good second hand shops like Space are a good bet if you want to halve the price tag. Otherwise you are likely to trip over designs inspired by his work if you have a wonder in Harajuku, but it is always a good idea to bear in mind the origin of these creations and Hiromu Takahara should never be robbed of that particular credit.