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 Americas 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 womens 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 artists name remains virtually unknown, her designs are not, such as the iconic white go-go boots made famous by Nancy Sinatras 1966 song, These boots are made for walkin.