The most bizarre high heels you’ve ever seen
Kobi Levi is in the lobby of Guangzhou Garden Hotel discussing fashion.
“Sure, they are completely wearable,” says the 36-year-old Israeli shoe designer, talking about his “creatures” -- a collection of shoes with heels that look like spilled coffee, chewing gum and even chopsticks.
One day I saw an e-mail from Lady Gaga's staff looking for original input for the new video, I couldn't believe it. I mean, Lady Gaga is the most famous pop star in the world. — Kobi Levi, 36, Israeli shoe designer
Levi, who lives in Tel Aviv, creates crazy, ironic and unbelievable shoes in collaboration with “Shoofra,” a shoe retail chain in Israel.
He travels to China often to get inspiration. He says he's fascinated by the massive development of the country.
“It's the right place to collect ideas for the new collections,” says Levi, who has spent time in Shanghai and other parts of the country. “Guangzhou is an interesting melting pot in which you have the opportunity to observe trends from a privileged position.”
Now in Guangzhou, he wants to carry his China-inspired designs into the Pearl River Delta.
“I find the East really stimulating,” says Levi.
The quirky shoemaker is inspired by Chinese food, even Chinese utensils. One of his shoe designs is named "Contemporary Chinese."
"I chose very iconic, traditional Chinese images: fire dragon and chopsticks, and combined (them) to create a very Western and modern shoe silhouette," says Levi, referring to a pair that features a fire dragon and chopstick-like stiletto heels.
Lady Gaga's double boots
Kobi Levi shot to international fame after designing a pair of pink double boots for Lady Gaga. The singer wore the boots in her “Born This Way” video.
"One day I saw an e-mail from Lady Gaga's staff looking for original input for the new video," recalls Levi. "I couldn't believe it. I mean, Lady Gaga is the most famous pop star in the world."
The double boots Levi sent to Lady Gaga featured two toes pointing in opposite directions.
"We were given the theme 'metamorphosis,' so they are ... a kind of 'mutation' of the familiar silhouette that creates a new thing," says Levi.
The shoes Chinese love
Levi's shoe collections have been shown in Hong Kong and to the Chinese public who, Levi says, appreciate his sense of style.
“I get requests from people wanting to buy my shoes," says the designer. "At the moment, I'm checking for new solutions to simplify my work. Right now, I make everything by hand in my studio.”
Levi sees his designs as a balance between art and fashion -- not only as accessories that reflect trends, but “the best way to express one's own personality.”
Email Kobi Levi (email@example.com) directly to buy his shoes.