1958 | STEVEN ARPAD FOR HERBERT LEVINE

THOUSANDS OF RHINESTONES lend brillance to this pair of $ 200 slippers, that are undoubtedly the prettiest shoes to ever waltz through an evening. Slippers like these in such unheard off colours as bright as orange, pale yellow and, of course, clear rhinestones, may be found at Ted land’s. Inspired by the Cinderella legend, the shoes were created by Herbert Levine. 
Desert Sun
November 23, 1969

1959 | Herbert Levine
3000 thousands rhinestones by Steven Arpad
Source: Desert Sun | November 23, 1959

HERBERT LEVINE hand-set his Cinderella pumps with three thousand glittering rhinestones … $ 200 a pair
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
September 11, 1958


1958 | Herbert Levine
For a selected few: $ 200 a pair
Source: Star Tribune | September 11, 1958

In 1963, Beth contacted Steven Arpad, who did the beading and rhinestone work for Balenciaga in Paris. Together they developed a technique for gluing stones to shoes that enabled Beth to create the first fully jewelled shoe, the “Dorothy” pump. When Beth wore a pair of prototypes aboard ship en route to Paris, buyers saw them and they became a sensation before she even reached home. They sold for $200, an exorbitant price at the time, and retailers couldn’t believe that women were actually buying them. 
Helene Verin
Beth Levine Shoes (Stewart, Tabori & Chang - 2009)


The Arpad technique is called pavee (and it is described here), while the name “Dorothy” might be only a reference to The Wizard of Oz as no names can be found in the advertisements.

The year however is one of the few mistakes in an otherwise solid and well researched book: it’s 1958, as seen in the ad, not 1963; also, in another part of the book, Helene Verin describes the 1958’s “Sea Mist” model (photo here below) as being created with the help of Steven Arpad. So, probably just a typo or maybe a collaboration that lasted a few years.


1958 | Beth & Herbert Levine | The model "Sea Mist"
Source: Beth Levine Shoes (Stewart, Tabori & Chang - 2009)

1958 | Beth & Herbert Levine | D'Orsay version of the model "Sea Mist"
Source: Shoe Icons


What we do know is this: the first known Arpad-Levine joint effort was a slingback with gilded heels back in 1956; the year before, the model “Ole” (upcoming) sported a rhinestone encrusted heel. The rhinestone decorations were a recurring Herbert Levine theme from 1955 to 1959. Could Arpad being involved in all of them? Probably, although we don’t have enough details to back this theory. 

Maybe one day.


1956 | Beth & Herbert Levine
Slingback with Steven Arpad gilded heels
Photograph: Ernst Beadle | Source: Harper's Bazaar/devocanada


INTRODUCING 
BETH & HERBERT LEVINE

JEWELLED



SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT

The “three thousand rhinestones pump” is a rare beast: the only museum known to have it is of course The Metropolitan Museum of Art which owns three (3!!) pairs:

- PALE YELLOW:  donated by Beth and Herbert Levine DATED 1955

- GOLD: donated by Dolores Crevolin Gray  DATED CIRCA 1958

- CLEAR RHINESTONES: donated by Roberta Matthews Bernstein DATED 1950’S


1958 | The three 3,000 thousand rhinestones pairs
At The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Source: MET

 

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