Designer Beth Levine American
Manufacturer Herbert Levine Inc. American

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.
This unique design reduces footwear to its most essential element - the sole - which is treated as decorative abstract shape. While topless shoes were in fact functional (they were secured to the foot with adhesive pads), the form has more importance as a theoretical exercise than a significant fashion. Levine garnered praise early in her career by producing flatteringly sexy, lower-cut and more flesh-baring shoes, and later produced a wide assortment of shoes with transparent vinyl uppers and Lucite heel. The topless shoe was the absurdist culmination of that exploration.

Shoes, Beth Levine (American, Patchogue, New York 1914–2006 New York), leather, American

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