Shoe fanatics may not realize that the luxury shoe brand Delman has been in existence for over 90 years. Founded in 1918 by Herman Delman, the New York company quickly grew into a sought after status brand. By 1931, The New Yorker reported that Delman sold 2,000 pairs of shoes each week.1 Customers included Adele Astaire (sister to Fred), Mary Pickford, Marlene Dietrich, Audrey Hepburn and Irene Castle. Delman's Madison Avenue shoe salon was styled like a "Louis XVI-style gallery, where shoes were displayed like works of art."2 Stamped Delman labels inside each shoe reinforced the idea that Delman produced unique and valuable art objects. This unmistakable logo, of a seated woman being fitted for a pair of shoes, was unique in an era when shoes were typically labeled with the name of the retailer, not the designer.
Though Herman Delman designed shoes in the early years, he also hired many individuals who went on to become noted designers in their own right. Herbert and Beth Levine designed shoes for Delman, along with Kenneth Jay Lane and Roger Vivier. For several years in the early 1950s, Roger Vivier designed for both Delman and Christian Dior, resulting in shoes labeled Delman-Christian Dior.
Though Delman produced practical and elegant day shoes of leather, Delman shoes intended for evening feature striking color combinations and eye-catching surface embellishment. In the early 1930s, Delman created "aluminum-painted shoes for dark nights, shoes ornamented with ground glass, or...rhinestones and sapphires."3 A pair of Delman evening shoes from 1958 were crafted from tangerine, royal blue and emerald green satin with a purple suede heel. This pair of Delman evening heels and matching clutch are entirely covered with iridescent rhinestones, tiny seed pearls and dots of velvet flocking.