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Basha Gold

1950s Herbert Levine Museum Held Black and Gold Kabuki Shoes Rare


With a size 4 foot, Beth Katz Levine had no problem finding work as a shoe model when she first moved to Manhattan in the Thirties. She soon realized, however, she had ambitions beyond posing in new wares. She began teaching herself the art of footwear design.

After meeting and marrying her husband, Herbert, the duo founded Hebert Levine in 1948 and started to make history with its unexpected looks. “We wanted to create a shoemaking niche,” she once wrote in a letter to the Bata Shoe Museum. “We were making very pretty shoes that nobody needed, but everybody wanted.”

Among these were elastic-backed mules, the rolled-heel shoe, the Astroturf sandal, the clear plastic Cinderella pump, the first high-fashion boots (Nancy Sinatra wore a pair to publicize “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’”) and the Kabuki. She introduced the latter style in 1959, taking her inspiration from geta, the wooden platforms worn by the Japanese performers she had seen during a trip to Asia.

She went on to create many variations on the silhouette, one of which can be seen in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but the Kabuki is nevertheless rare to come by today. This highly collectible pair is made in shiny black silk on a gold, carved wooden platform. The balance of curves and angles, along with the sloping pitch, make them modern objets d’art as well as show stopping accessories.


Size: 5.5 U.S.

Insole: 9.5 inches

Platform height: 2 inches

These rare Herbert Levine black and gold Kabuki shoes from the Sixties are in excellent condition for their age. There is some light wear on the silk on the inside of the right heel. The shoes are made of black silk, with leather on the interior, and a wooden platform. High-quality vintage pieces like this are yours to live in and love while increasing in value every year. It’s never too soon to start collecting them, as an investment in your wardrobe—and in yourself.

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