Recently, Bedford + Bowery documented a couple of Brooklynite craftswomen taking really normal things and making them weird. Much like Oppenheim’s fur-lined tea cup, Julia Zangrilli’s scent based on the smelliest block in NYC and Divya Anantharaman’s stilettos adorned with bird parts sparked quite a few reactions — and strong ones.
Gothamist spritzed itself with the “pungent” LES perfume we commissioned and judged that it had “the right combination of burnt rubber and pulsating 1000-degree asphalt funk.” And yesterday we took our bottle out to the very block that inspired it. Watch the above video to hear what the locals thought.
Then there’s Divya. When the Daily Mail reblogged our story about the avian shoemaker, commenters went completely bonkers (you can read the 10 most extreme of the 200+ comments below). She also got a lot of hate mail. “It shows there is still a huge misconception about taxidermy, simply because it was a certain way for so many years,” Divya told B+B.
Divya responded to every one of her seething critics with material from her website that clearly states the ethics of her profession. “If anything is hunted or trapped, it’s for meat first, not for a trophy,” she told us.
Eight to ten people actually replied, according to Divya, and “every single one said, ‘I’m so sorry. I can’t believe I called you names. I can’t believe somebody would write something that’s wrong.'” Other haters simply missed the fact that putting dead parts of animals on feet is something people do everywhere almost all of the time. “All leather shoes are made out of taxidermy, really,” Divya pointed out, as did a lot of the commenters.
Here now are the greatest hits from the comments section; the first one is from The Cut and the rest are from the Daily Mail.
1. “Yeah, all well and good until you’re standing outside for a smoke and a feral alley cat scratches the crap out of your ankles.”
2. “Why didn’t you publish a picture of this hideous creature so that we would be able to shun her if we ever had the misfortune to encounter such a vile creature. What a poor excuse for a human being.”
3. “THAT IS VILE , AND THE MOST UGLIEST SHOES I HAVE EVER SEEN! HOW CAN SUCH BEAUTIFUL ANIMALS BE MADE INTO SUCH TRASH???? Vile person who puts these out need to be shot!”
4. “What a hack. She can’t make real art so she kills animals instead. Hopefully she’ll try a ‘self-portrait’ sometime and taxidermy herself.”
5. “She is no designer just a raving lunatic! NO this is not the same as the products that are used from left over parts of animals that have already been used for food. If there are by products of deceased animals that is one thing, but to kill them just to stuff them..that’s insane.”
6. “I smother fish scales on my lips when I wear lipstick, I spray glandular secretions on myself in the form of musk perfume, and I do indeed wear leather boots. I’m nowhere near close to judging anyone who chooses to wear these shoes to make a fashion statement. I’m sure the birds dont mind much at this point Art is art. I remember using a pressed butterfly as a bookmark back in the 90s and my classmates thought it was so edgy.”
7. “Remember Victor Meldrew with a dead Hedgehog on his foot, nothing new here!”
8. “This is why aliens won’t talk to us.”
9. “I wish a giant would come along and wear her as a pendant around their neck.”
10. “SO SHE KILLS INNOCENT LITTLE SONG BIRDS AND ATTACHES THEM TO STRIPPER SHOES????? SHE IS THE ONE WHO SHOULD BE MOUNTED ONTO FOOTWEAR.”
Video by Megan Durisin and Sonya Chudgar