You can’t say taxidermy’s not having a moment, but Divya Anantharaman doesn’t just enjoy her stuffed animal heads from the comfort of a well-warmed bar stool. Oh no. Anantharaman you might recognize as the “dead animal addict” from the TLC series My Strange Addiction or the Taxidermy Babe from Vice. She’s a legitimate Pratt Institute-graduating shoe designer with a very legitimate infatuation with cutting up animals, and naturally, she’s marrying her two loves into one fascination shoe collection.
Anantharaman’s debut shoe collection is partly thanks to a $10,000 prize she won through Lifetime’s 24 Hour Catwalk. She also runs a sell-out taxidermy class in Williamsburg. Last year she spoke to the Observer about her shoe designing intentions, but Bedford + Bowery have just witnessed the scalpeling of the sparrow to be used on her first pair. It’s a scaly pump with a curved heel reminiscent of Alexander McQueen’s Armadillo, a sight to behold even before you consider the dead birds she’s artfully attached with the aid of a London cobbler.
It’s not that taxidermy and shoes haven’t found themselves odd bedfellows before. Google Images ‘Irish Schieferstein’ and you’ll probably remember the horse hoof footwear the German designer sexed up with metallic spray paint and shiny pistols. But it’s Anantharaman’s design process that makes her creations so morbidly transfixing. She obtains all animal parts ethically – AKA does both the killing and stuffing herself – and, to the best of her ability, puts every part to sensible use.
The shoes will be unveiled this fall, but if you can’t wait until then, she’ll be showing more traditional taxidermy at Saturday’s B+B Bazaar in New York. Who said dead animals and PB&J ice cream floats couldn’t be friends?
See her first pair of shoes, plus other wearable and non-wearable creations, below.
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this is some kind of spaceship or something.