Beth Levine:The First Lady of Shoes
Main Gallery, Art Museum
An exhibition celebrating the visionary shoe designer, Beth Levine (1914-2006) will be opening this summer. It will include a wide array of iconic footwear, photographs, paintings, memorabilia, illustrations, accessories, film footage and artifacts from public and private collections relating to Levine’s early life on a farm in Long Island through her ascent to the pinnacle of the fashion world. More than almost any single 20th century American designer, Levine revolutionized women’s footwear in ways that still resonate.
In addition to 3 First Ladies (Jacqueline Kennedy, Pat Nixon, Lady Bird Johnson, who chose Levine’s shoes for their extreme comfort), Beth’s clients included Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner, Barbra Streisand, Lauren Bacall, Liza Minelli, and Cher. The boots that Nancy Sinatra wore for her 1966 hit “These Boots are Made for Walkin'” were designed by Beth. Levine collaborated with designers including Halston, Geoffrey Beene, Bill Blass and designed all the footwear for Braniff Airline’s flight attendants. Her work is collected by many museums and individuals including Christian Louboutin and Manolo Blahnik. Beth Levine: The First Lady of Shoes will reintroduce our audience to a true American original, an exceptionally creative, playful, and practical force in 20th century fashion design.
This exhibition is being guest-curated by Helene Verin, an adjunct professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, and the recognized expert on Beth Levine.