Mr. Sato adds some footwear flair to his flared pants from Tokyo’s bell-bottom paradise.

“I want some bell-bottoms.”

That’s the thought that’s been running through the mind of crack SoraNews24 reporter Mr. Sato these past few weeks. Actually, if we’re telling the whole story, it’s been running though his mind for decades. See, Mr. Sato was born long enough ago that he got to see the tail-end of the golden age of bell-bottoms, but by the time he was a young adult and buying his own clothes, they’d already become yesteryear’s fashion.

And yet, his desire to own a pair of bell-bottoms remains. Unfortunately, most clothing shops have long since stopped stocking them, but after doing some checking around, Mr. Sato discovered that there’s a bell-bottom specialty store located in Tokyo’s Shibuya district.

The shop is called Dee Dee, and since it’s not far from the office, Mr. Sato decided to hop on over and get himself some new old-school pants. As he entered the store and began looking through their selection, though, he realized that he’d been forgetting something very important: if he was going to be rocking a pair of bell-bottoms, he also needed a pair of London boots.

“London boots” is a term used in Japanese fashion circles to describe long, heeled leather boots, usually with wild colors or other flashy kinds of decoration. The name comes from such footwear’s popularity among the British rock scene in the 1970s, and aside from being a period-appropriate pairing for Mr. Sato’s bell-bottoms to be, they’d also help keep the pants’ wide cuffs from scraping the pavement as he walked around town.

Thankfully, just like he didn’t need to go to belfry to get bell-bottoms, he didn’t need to go to the U.K. to get his London boots. After asking the staff of Dee Dee if they could recommend a place, they told him about a store in the Yotsuya Sanchome neighborhood that not only sells London boots, but makes custom pairs to order.

But when Mr. Sato spotted the place, called SA Shoes, he wondered if there’d been some sort of misunderstanding. From the outside, it looked like the most ordinary shoe shop imaginable, one of the dwindling numbers of mom-and-pop stores that provide local grandmas and grandpas with plain, no-nonsense pumps and loafers.

But when he got close enough to peer inside the window, he saw…

…London boots!

His heart rate and walking pace both elevated, Mr. Sato strode into SA Shoes and said he’d come to order a pair of London boots. “OK, what kind would you like?” the bootmaker asked, bringing out a huge selection of material samples with a variety of colors and textures.

Since Mr. Sato hadn’t had any more specific image than “cool ones” as to what kind of London boots he wanted, he decided to take a few days to think it over. The craftsman said Mr. Sato could sketch a drawing of the sort of boots he wanted, which they could use as a starting point from which the two of them could determine the final design.

A few days later, Mr. Sato came back to the store with this.

A blue base color with silver accents and stars on the outside edge of the left boot, and red with hearts on the right. However, since Mr. Sato has never designed a pair of boots before, and SA Shoes’ bootmaker has decades of experience with them, the craftsman pointed out that a few of Mr. Sato’s design choices weren’t very feasible in terms of production, so they did a little more tinkering to come up with something practical that would still give Mr. Sato the visual style he wanted.

Once the design was done, it took one month to actually make the boots, and when they were done…

…they were fabulous.

Not only did Mr. Sato love the way they looked, he loved the way they felt too. Designed specifically to the measurements of his feet, the fit was just the right balance between relaxed and snug, and from the moment he slipped them on they felt like they were already broken in. At roughly 50,000 yen (US$435) they were anything but cheap, but the quality is definitely there.

▼ Further proof that Mr. Sato can make any fashion ensemble work.

▼ Taking his London boots for a pole dance spin

Now that he had his London boots, a return trip to Dee Dee was in order, so that he could finally get the bell-bottoms he’d been waiting his whole life to wear.

He did notice, though, that wearing both his new pants and his new shoes at the same time means that a lot of the boots are covered up.

But the quick flashes of stars and hearts that people are treated to if they’re paying close attention are a pretty good metaphor for the complex, alluring kind of guy that Mr. Sato is.

Shop information
Dee Dee
Address: Shibuya-ku, Udagawacho 4-10
Open 1 p.m.-7 p.m.

SA Shoes / エスエー製靴株式会社
Address: Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Aizumicho 6-4
Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Closed Sundays/holidays

Photos ©SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]