Shoe designer Beth (Katz) Levine spent her early years on her family’s cattle and dairy farm in Holtsville. The Katz family later lived on West Avenue in the 1920’s and 1930’s and Beth graduated from Patchogue-Medford High School.
In 1949, Beth and her husband Herbert opened a shoe business and factory in New York City. Women’s black or brown platform shoes were worn during the World War II. The young Levines responded with their “Femme Fatale” shoe with a V-cut closed toe and a narrow ankle strap produced in a variety of colors considered vulgar at the time. The “Femme Fatale” was a huge hit and their first bestselling shoe.
Beth designed and popularized stilettos, mules and fashionable boots worn by Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe, Barbara Streisand and First Ladies. Nancy Sinatra’s boots, immortalized in the song These Boots Were Made for Walking, were designed by Beth Levine.
Beth and Herb Levine collaborated with fashion designers Halston, Oleg Cassini, Pauline Trigere, Adolfo, Geoffrey Beene, Bill Blass and Oscar de la Renta. The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute celebrated Beth’s shoe designs with a retrospective exhibit in 1976. Many of her highly innovative shoes are now in the museum’s permanent collection.
Courtesy of Ron, Nancy & Meghan Bush