KCIDigital Archives

The KCI Digital Archives on the KCI website presents image and text information for the objects in the collection, arranged in chronological order.

Pumps "Taberu Kutsu" ("Shoes to eat")

© The Kyoto Costume Institute, photo by Masayuki Hayashi

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Pumps "Taberu Kutsu" ("Shoes to eat")

c. 1984

Tokio Kumagaï
Tokio Kumagaï
Red and white resin.
Credit Line
Bequest of Mr. Tokio Kumagaï 
Inventory Number(s)
AC7558 92-13-469AB

This pair of pumps was made super-realistically to produce the same texture as the thinly-sliced beef used in Japanese "sukiyaki" cuisine. It leverages techniques utilized to create the distinctive resin-made food models sometimes displayed by Japanese restaurants. The shoes shown here are just one pair from the "Shoes to eat" series, in which parfaits, rice with azuki beans, and other food items are used as motifs. Inspired by Salvador Dalí (1904–1989), Elsa Schiaparelli (1980–1973) had once made a hat shaped like a pump; now Tokio Kumagai surprised the fashion scene by decorating the feet with food.
In 1970, Kumagai moved to France from Japan. As a freelance designer, he worked under Jean-Charles de Castelbajac and Fiorucci, gaining great esteem with his shoe designs. In 1981, Kumagai opened his own boutique. Using the painting style of artists such as Dalí, Jackson Pollock, and Jean Cocteau, being resourceful, and having fun, Kumagai's shoes garnered popularity, leading him to also launch a prêt-à-porter line. Kumagai passed away in 1987.