Beth Levine (American, Patchogue, New York 1914–2006 New York)
Herbert Levine Inc. (American, founded 1949)
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Lady Emilia Dreher Armstrong, 1986
Not on view
Beth Levine's ingenious and witty designs, experimentation with novel materials, and ability to invent practical solutions have earned her the place of top female shoe designer of the 20th century. Levine was particularly adept at predicting future trends and devising structural innovations. Chief among her achievements were the popularization of the fashion boot in the 1960s, the use of vinyl and spandex, and the inventions of the Spring-o-lator mule, the stocking shoe, and the topless shoe. These boundary-breaking innovations earned Levine a Coty award 1967. Increasingly shortening skirts in the late 1960s encouraged the fashion boot, which Levine had been instrumental in revivifying in the early 1960s, to rise to previously unheard-of heights. Levine pioneered the use of stretch vinyl to produce shapely pull-on boots that did not require any closure. In this extreme example in leather, however, the partial center back zipper is a necessity in order to provide the desired glove-like fit.