Fashion Designer: Beth Levine

Beth Levine was born on the 31st of December 1914 and was a popular American fashion designer that rose to fame in the 1940’s and continued work up to 1970’s. She started her work under the label her husband (Herbert Levine) had established and brought it to new heights. From the 50’s to the 70’s Beth was the most famous shoe designer there was. She is still known as “The first lady of American shoe design” in the fashion world.

Levine was born in Patchogue, New York as Elizabeth Katz; She was the third of totally five children in the family of Anna and Israel Katz who were Lithuanian jewish emigrants in the United Sates. The family earned their living by operating a dairy farm. Beth moved to Manhattan in the 1930’s and found a job as a shoe model. Then slowly she managed to work her way up the ladder to a stylist and finally a designer for I. Miller. When World War II hit, Beth immediately volunteered in the Red Cross.

Beth met her husband-Herbert, while applying for a job for a shoe designer for a manufacturer in 1944. Three months later Beth and Herbert married. Since Herbert was the big boss in the company she worked in, her designs saw daylight pretty soon and drew some attention. When the couple realized the designs will sell well they founded their own company and named it- Herbert Levine, it was 1948. The vision for the company the two had was “a shoemaking niche” that would make “pretty shoes” that nobody would need but everybody would want.

Beth was the main shoe designer in the newly-established company and after years of hard work and outstanding designs she was awarded the Coty Award in 1967 for innovation in design.
Beth Levine was a huge influence for designers that emerged later on, she popularized boots and the shoe style called mules. Nancy Sinatra is known to have worn Levine boots for the advertisement shots of the 60’s hit “These boots are made for walkin”. The demand of Levine boots sky rocketed soon after this.

Photo Gallery (Designs and logo of Beth Levine)

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