Kei Kagami wasn’t the only fashion designer pushing the limits of footwear at the rooms 27 trade show, Masaya Kushino was also on hand with an up to date retrospective that reinforced his position as one of the leading lights in Japanese shoe design along with the aforementioned Kagami and the ever-popular Noritaka Tatehana who can currently be seen at the CDG Trading Museum.  Masaya Kushino took this as an opportunity to show us the aggressive bestial side of his world with plenty of confrontational animal inspired shoes, but also dipped into the more picturesque themes from nature we saw the last time we featured his work.

Setting the scene was this sculpture from Osamu Takata (homepage here), which featured the feathered heels designed for Christian Dada that appeared to be trying their hardest to keep the steel man afloat.  The horse skull bag is the original that was later customized for Tatsuro Horikawa’s brand Julius with more military straps – as much as I love the industrial feel of Julius, personally I can’t help preferring this version with the complementary bridle influenced straps.

Regular readers should recognize these beauties from the last Christian Dada catwalk show at Tokyo Fashion Week.  The fact that the male models managed to walk in these should quell any talk of whether they are practical or not, but if you can’t appreciate these as a work of art in of itself then I think you are in the wrong place.

The key contrast here is between the earthy bestial elements such as the fur and the transcendent wings, the idea behind them being the process of accession rather than the start or end points.

As well as the newer work this was also a great chance to see some of his fantastic archive pieces, these particularly decadent ones having aged very well indeed.

The heel here is stingray, giving these shoes just a little bit of edge lest they become too classically beautiful.

Likewise, the contrast maintained between the modern and conventionally beautiful pave stones on the upper, next to the equally beautiful yet raw crystals on the underside is what gives Masaya Kushino’s work its teeth.

Just verging on full-on kink here.

Before bringing it back to classical plinth and framing ideas – afterall what is a shoe like this for except to display the wearer?

One of my favorite early designs – the toe is stingray and the antler accentuates the leg perfectly when worn.

Moving on to the bags, and I think it is worth stopping to just take a moment to appreciate how complicated these things are in construction, the fact that it is still cheaper at retail than most “celebrity endorsed” models is more than a little sad.

And finally, the classic skull bag.  There are actually a good number of variants and collaboration versions of this bag, as with the horse skull there is a Julius one that has a bondage-esque strap across the jaw and even a Jury Black glam rock themed option out there.

Stand by for more from the rooms trade show very soon and I hope you have enjoyed this trip into the fantastical world of Masaya Kushino.

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