May 26, 2014

Cat’s Out of the Bag

Tokio Kumagaï and Charlotte Olympia

Before launching his own collection in 1981, Japanese-born Tokio Kumagaï attended the Bunka College of Fashion (where Kenzo and Issey Miyake would also matriculate) and soon after began designing footwear for Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre d’Alby. For his eponymous label, Kumagaï went beyond the expected, offering up designs that incorporated appliqués, patchwork details and other whimsical adornments. Animal-inspired designs would become Kumagaï’s signature, with shoes aimed to resemble a range of animals including cats, chicken, mice, rabbits and ducks. A popular style by contemporary footwear designer Charlotte Olympia undoubtedly takes inspiration from Kumagaï’s feline footwear.

Pumps by Tokio Kumagaï, ca. 1986. Housed at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Pumps by Tokio Kumagaï, ca. 1986. Housed at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 

Cat Face Pumps by Charlotte Olympia, 2011

Cat Face Pumps by Charlotte Olympia, 2011

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