There is a fine line between gimmickry and innovation and it was one that “NO” designer Taizo Saito walks with ease.  No surprise as this particular designer has worn awards and praise amongst the shoe-making elite of the UK, Italy and Japan and even from Jimmy Choo.  He is something of a rarity in that his work is prized amongst the modern design crowd as it is amongst the fashion followers and while all of it might not be completely your cup of proverbial tea, I think you will be surprised by how accesible it is:

This is one of his most popular items – digitally printed leather boots.  They come in a myriad of prints including fur, quilting and the crocodile above,

And with that beautiful broad pannel at the front which will crease and weather beautifully with time.

As will these absolute beauties on the left.  They have a number of rubber coatings around the trainer that will wear away gradually in time and once they are too worn you can take the layer off and being working on the next one – a bit like a snake shedding its skin.

Obviously printed leather is a huge part of the brands identity, but there is also a wealth of this kind of hand detailing.

More popular men’s designs that have proved popular in a good number of magazines including Popeye and Dazed.

Like most of these kinds of art / design brands, the packaging is a big part of the process:

And likewise a simular theme with this straightjacket print:

Another popular item has been these pseudo punk belts, which are again gorgeous printed leather.

And finally some other oddities that caught my eye, all are immaculately made and verging on art as far as I am concerned.

The stop watch on these slippers is set to zero, to reset you as you put them on apparently.

I wanted to give you a representation of the designer as a whole here, but for me his real talent (and what he is trained in) is the shoes and boots.  If you want to see more, and you should, head on over to his website (and bookmark it fast as it is impossible to search for!).  If you are in Japan, you should try and see his work in the flesh and mercifully he has a huge amount of stockists to choose from.  I remember well the first time I saw his work over at Manicolle in Shibuya and I have been a firm follower ever since.

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