Herbert Levine began his career in journalism, while wife Beth modeled size 4B shoes. Their marriage in 1948 led to thirty years of inventive shoe design with Herbert running the business while Beth acted as head designer. The Herbert Levine company introduced the world to “Spring-o-Lator” mules, stocking boots (pantyhose with heels attached), and popularized the return of the fashion boot in the mid 1960s, using novelty materials like vinyl and acrylic. Famous for creative, fun styles like racing car shoes and gilded wood platforms found limited success, but established the Levines as true American shoe designers. Some crazy styles, created more for publicity than setting a fashion, included slippers with newspaper, money, or candy-wrapper plaited uppers, sandals sporting Astroturf insoles, or upperless sandals, where the shoe was glued onto one’s nylons.
Closed in 1975, shoes from the Herbert Levine company are remembered equally for their creativity and humour as they were for their craftsmanship. Their clientele included stars like Bette Davis and Barbara Streisand, they provided the boots for Nancy Sinatra to walk in. First Ladies Pat Nixon and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis were also among their clientele. Although Herbert passed away in 1991, Beth Levine remained “America’s First Lady of Shoe Design” until her death in 2006 at the age of 92.
Written by kickshawproductions