Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fashion History Lesson

Vogue, 1968- over the knee boots designed by Beth Levine

Hey Everyone! So sorry for the recent gap in posting, I've been out of town, so from now on posts will continue to be more regular, as in the past.

I was just looking at some recent designers shoe collections and was reminded of a designer who was largely popular in the 1950-70's, Beth Levine. A lot of modern day designers credit her as one of their key inspirations, and many famous style icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Jacqueline Kennedy wore her designs, not to mention Nancy Sinatra, Shirley MacLaine, Barbara Streisand, Lady Bird Johnson, and Patricia Nixon.

So many designers have used Levine's designs as their inspiration, including Benoît Méléard, a relatively new French designer who has worked in the past for Loewe, Helmut Lang, Jeremy Scott and Alexander McQueen and who recently(in 2001) began his own line of experimental footwear, stating 1950's Beth Levine designs as his primary inspiration. Other designers and fashion critics have also recognized the consequential impact of Beth Levine's inspirational creations as well:

Beth Levine was an influential free spirit. There is nothing that I like more than seeing a creation coming from pure fun and pleasure, and this is always the case with Levine’s refreshing work. God bless her for that!”—Christian Loboutin

"Before Manolo Blahnik. there was the cutting-edge shoe designer, Beth Levine. Stockinged boots that extended into a wrapped bodysuit, slides lined in Astroturf, and driving pumps in the form of cars- all were part of her rich vocabulary..." Andre Leon Talley, VOGUE

Below are two photos of Beth Levine originals, then below them I've posted two examples of similar, more recent shoe designs by modern designers. I think you'll be surprised by the similarity!

A Beth Levine original, circa 1965
Above: Beth Levine original

Below: Marc Jacobs 2008

Marc Jacobs, 2008

below: United Nude 2011

United Nude, 2011 Collection Eamz Pump, black