Most of us are comfortable with wearing leather shoes. Most of us are not, however, interested in wearing heels made from hooves, donning stuffed-dove-adorned sandals, or showing off snake heads around our ankles.
Iris Schieferstein's ultra-expensive outlandish designs are a hit with Lady Gaga, but for most fashionistas, the German designer's taxidermy footwear is more than just a step or two outside their comfort zones.
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"The 45-year-old designer, from Berlin, Germany, collects carcasses from her local butcher which are discarded after the meat is used for sausages," the Daily Mail reports. "She spends a week stripping out any remaining meat and bones from the animal's feet and the skin is sent to a tanner to be treated for preservation."
She then sets the skin -- fur still in place -- around a shoe model and starts to build her creations.
The process is actually an improvement from her previous methods.
"When I began working with dead animals I would pick them up from the street," she says. "But they are protected by the government in Germany, and so after ten years they tried to put me in prison. Now I use my butcher."
Her shoes can cost up to £3,900 ($6240 CAD).
The Virtual Shoe Museum describes Schieferstein's collection in this manner:
"She joins the fragments together to new creatures and thus gives a new face to death. No matter, if her arrangements follow paintings of the great masters of art or if the joined objects turn out to be whole words — her work always gives evidence of aesthetic intuition and her inclination to subtle entertainment. The earlier you die — the longer you are dead."
While the pricey show-stopping pieces have been displayed in exhibitions, the admittedly uncomfortable footwear is not likely to hit store shelves any time soon.
"As yet, no company has been willing to produce them for the high street," Schieferstein admits.
While using every part of an animal is a long-honoured tradition in many cultures, using hollowed-out hooves to make topsy-turvy heels fit for a controversial pop queen has to be a first.>