Heelless Is More

Noritaka Tatehana is the shoe designer who found fame, or vice versa, when Lady Gaga wore a pair of his vertiginous heelless creations on Japanese TV in 2010. Never far behind, Daphne Guinness soon came calling. But like the reclusive craftsman he is, Tatehana holed up and continued cranking out shoe after shoe, higher and higher—each made his own hands, from start to finish.

His fall collection, ironically named Atom, is a sight to behold, with its heelless leather beauties of varying heights, plus a de rigueur Swarovski crystal-encrusted pair. But the pièce de résistance has to be a teetering marvel standing at 17 inches (the first image here). That’s about the height of a nightstand—imagine walking around on nightstands. Or maybe the pièce de résistance is a thigh-high number.

Tatehana says he was inspired to create his most uplifting collection to date after the Japanese earthquake: “I have never felt death so close to me as on the day of that earthquake. I will never forget how much I was encouraged by messages from around the world.”

In case you’re wondering about prices, don’t. Of those that aren’t “upon request,” $7,800 is the lowest. And it looks like that might be for one shoe.

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