Noritaka Tatehana is a shoe designer responsible for Lady Gaga’s clog-like shoes Indeed his creations which are between 25 and 46 centimetres (10 to 18 inches) off the ground have become her signature icon. As a result the Japanese designer’s footwear is in such high demand despite their $US 15,000 price tag. Lady Gaga has more than 20 pairs of shoes of his shoes and all are hand crafted to fit her feet.
Inspiration for his sky-high platforms originated from the traditional geta shoes worn by geishas.
In his Tokyo workshop there are dozens of shoes in various stages, from ideas to completed pairs covered in Swarovski crystals or golden studs. The 26 year old was still only a student at the Tokyo University of the Arts when he began his career. The shoes he created as part of his graduation thesis were to become the first pair for Lady Gaga. When the fashion designer announced his creation in an industry-wide email, one of only three responses happened to come from Gaga’s stylist. Tatehana’s designs have been displayed at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology Museum, with curator Valerie Steele commenting that he is one of the most important shoe designers of this generation. His “heel-less” high-heeled shoes have revolutionized the idea of extreme footwear, she says. The secret of Tatehana’s shoes is his designs transfer the mass of the wearer from the heel to the ball of the foot. Lady Gaga can walk and dance in her as if shoes as if she were on tip toes. The popularity of Tatehana’s high stacks has seen the rise of concealed platforms as the new fashion vogue for the glitterati. However sometimes what seems a good idea on the drawing board may result in challenges to those not so well schooled in deportment. X Factor (UK) judges, Tulisa Contostavlos and Mel B (aka "Scary Spice" from the Spice Girl) found themselves teetering on the bring recently when they attempted to negotiate stairs in their fashionable concealed platforms. Both nearly came a cropper in front of the paparazzi.