Slip on shoe designed by Tokio Kumagai
Although the 1980s produced a diversity of styles, some trends are evident. Simple flat-heeled shoes have been popular with women since the early 1980s, reflecting the influence of casual wear and women's changing needs. Flat-heeled shoes based on footwear worn by Chinese and Japanese peasants were also teamed with new styles of dress introduced in the 1980s by influential Japanese designers based in Paris.
One of the most inventive shoe designers in the 1980s was Tokio Kumagai (1948-1987), whose quirky shoes masquerading as cartoon mice or in this case, roosters, continued a tradition of illusionary techniques seen earlier in the century, in particular by Elsa Schiaparelli in her surrealist inspired designs of the late 1930s. Indeed Kumagai is famous for representing in his shoe designs the work of artists such as Dali, Kandinsky and Mondrian.
This pair of shoes was donated to the museum by Kumagai's Italian agent and friend, Amelio Zagato of Heresco (who also manufactured the shoes), who on Kumagai's death continued his role to produce shoes based on Kumagai's original designs from the 1980s.
Tokio Kumagai was known for his unusual shoe making designs and his ability to successfully utilise shoes beyond their functional purpose. It is Kumagai's innovative approach to design, incorporating a wide range of materials, which has ensured that his shoes are collector's items.