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Bellevue Arts Museum to Present Retrospective of Acclaimed Shoe Designer Beth Levine
Beth Levine, Paper Twist, 1966. Courtesy of Helene Verin. Photo: Dutch Leather and Shoe Museum.
BELLEVUE, WA.- This winter, Bellevue Arts Museum brings to light the work and life of one of the greatest shoe designers of the 20th century: Beth Levine. Featuring ephemera and over 100 pairs of shoes and boots, Beth Levine: First Lady of Shoes will open its doors February 18, 2010 and run through June 6, 2010. Originally organized by The Dutch Leather and Shoe Museum, BAM is the only U.S. venue to showcase this fascinating exhibition.

Long before the rise of Jimmy Choo and Christian Louboutin, Beth Levine (1914 - 2006) revolutionized the fashion world with her incredibly artful and irresistible shoe designs. A true visionary in her field, Levine popularized such styles as mules, stilettos and fashion boots. Her shoes became favorites among designers and celebrities alike, from Halston to Geoffrey Beene, Marilyn Monroe to Cher, as well as four of America’s First Ladies.

Born in 1914 into a family of Jewish farmers on Long Island, NY, Beth Levine was the first successful female shoe designer in an era and field dominated by men. In 1950, Beth and her husband started a shoe factory in New York where she designed shoes under his name, Herbert Levine. Finding her start as a shoe model, she was uniquely suited to understanding the needs of women’s shoes, and was known for the comfort, wearability and beauty of her designs. Both practical and whimsical, she is credited with numerous ‘firsts’ such as the Spring-o-lator and the topless ‘No’ shoe. While the artist’s name remains virtually unknown, her designs are not, such as the iconic white go-go boots made famous by Nancy Sinatra’s 1966 song, “These boots are made for walkin’.”


Bellevue Arts Museum | Beth Levine | First Lady of Shoes |


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