Self-taught shoe designer Beth Levine (1914-2006) created some of the most innovative and fanciful shoes of the 20th century. Levine began her career in 1938 as a shoe model/secretary for a New York shoe manufacturer. Given that Beth had size 4 feet, it was almost as if she were born for the job! Levine soon realized that she had more than a passing interest in shoes. Regarding her experiences in her first position, Levine later said, "I could tell anything from the inside of the shoe. I could even tell by the feel of the shoe how it had been manufactured."1 After working at a series of shoe manufacturers, Levine interviewed for a design position at Andrew Geller, an upscale New York shoe manufacturer in 1946. Her interviewer, Herbert Levine, became her husband a few months later.
After their marriage, the Levines decided to open a shoe manufacturer with the goal of creating beautiful, inventive, carefully constructed shoes, using an assembly line process. Under the company name "Herbert Levine," they shipped their first shoes in 1949. Though Herbert's name was on the shoe box, Beth was the true creative force behind the team. Within a few years, Levine shoes were sold throughout North America and Europe. They were also widely copied, always a true sign of admiration.