Most of the shoes are from the collection of Helen Verin, who wrote a book on Ms. Levine (available at Splendid Items). This exclusive exhibit runs through June 6, 2010. We (illicitly, oops!) photographed less than 1/10th of the shoes on display — once we put our camera away, we enjoyed circulating in a high level awe as we explored the never ending imagination that went into creating these shoes!!
The Levines were the first to do business with the Far East after WWII. They would send fabrics from Italy and France over to be embroidered, then the shoes would be assembled at their factory in New York. They worked with the embroiderers who worked for the Emperor of Japan, amongst others.
Look at the detail of this handiwork, including the design on the heel cover.
Their celebrity clientele include Jackie O, Cher and Marilyn Monroe.
We could see this smart set on Marlo Thomas in That Girl!
These shoes are from the Femme Fatale series, released in the early 50’s. Look at the beautiful kidskin flowers and rhinestones at the throat and on the ankle strap.
She got the idea while designing men’s workboots, in which she put an elastic support to allow the boots to be removed more easily.
Their marketing campaigns were so ahead of their time, here is an introduction to the use of “pony” fur on shoes.
Unfortunately, it was brought to my attention that no photographs were allowed at this point in my tour, so I wasn’t able to snap a shot of the ad where they introduced boots as a fashion statement.
The copy explained that their boots were neither durable nor waterproof — just fashionable, very fashionable.