Fourth Generation Brings Jacques Levine Online

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Grandson Joins Business, Launches E-Commerce Site, and Readies Elegant New Collection for Jacques Levine

Sam Calvanio adds a fourth generation to the storied Jacques Levine brand, pictured alongside Falk, Jacques, and Harold Levine, the previous generations to run the business

It gives me great pleasure to work side by side with my Grandson and I was ecstatic when he decided to join the business last year

After 74 years in the bedrooms of well-to-do women, Jacques Levine’s renowned leather slippers are going online. The re-launch of the newly e-commerce enabled website http://www.jacqueslevine.com, also marks the 4th generation of the Levine family to run the storied shoe business. Mr. Levine’s grandson Sam Calvanio recently joined the company and is working closely with his Grandfather to ready a revitalized collection for 2011.

The Jacques Levine brand has been online since 2003, but has never been sold directly to consumers over the web. “For years we sent customers looking for our styles to our valued online resellers,” said Mr. Levine, who at 87 still comes to work every day. “Once Sam joined the business, I was confident that his background in e-commerce would allow us to directly serve our loyal customers, especially those who cannot find retailers nearby.” Mr. Calvanio joined the company in the fall of 2009 after the untimely death of his Uncle Harold Levine, who ran the business with his father for over 30 years.

Jacques Levine takes great pride in the line of savvy shoemakers that has run in the family. “It gives me great pleasure to work side by side with my Grandson and I was ecstatic when he decided to join the business last year,” said Mr. Levine. “I have always thought he had the taste and personality to be successful in this business.” Since joining the company, Mr. Calvanio has focused on improving the company’s operations, building the e-commerce site, and preparing a new line with his grandfather.
The Grandfather and Grandson duo are fast at work on a new collection of elegant slippers and flats for 2011. The new line, called the 4th Generation Collection, will be available in a limited preview at select stores in New York City, beginning in December.

The company has already released revised versions of existing styles for the fall and winter seasons, but is preparing a significant revitalization of the brand for next year. While the styles will reflect an updated approach to slippers and elegant footwear, Mr. Levine and Mr. Calvanio have ensured that the decades of commitment to the finest materials, the importance of fit, and the distinguished tastes of the Jacques Levine customer, will remain paramount to the updated collection.

This important history of design and a commitment to fit is also the focus of a blog called Vintage Jacques that was launched in conjunction with the online store, offering insights on shoes, slippers, and style straight from Jacques Levine.

Of all the projects Mr. Calvanio has tackled since joining the company, the blog is especially exciting for the young entrepreneur. “I think Vintage Jacques will allow my grandfather to share his endless knowledge of the shoe industry with the adoring fans of his slippers,” said Mr. Calvanio who types the handwritten blog posts for his Grandfather and uploads them to the site. “As we drew from our archives while working on our next collection, it became clear to me that he needed a forum to share his lifetime of experiences.”

Mr. Levine has done almost everything there is to do in the shoe business, cutting materials in his father Falk Levine’s Middletown factory at the young age of 14, producing dancing shoes for the Broadway hit Chorus Line, designing a slipper collection for Christian Dior, and traversing the country with his latest samples, ready to add a new store that had yet to carry his slippers. Between the content of the Vintage Jacques blog, the addition of the online store and his grandson at the helm of the company, Mr. Levine is confident that the next generation of women will get to experience the simple luxury that is a Jacques Levine slipper.

About Jacques Levine

The Jacques Levine brand has consistently represented elegant and comfortable women’s footwear styles for decades. Primarily known for its Made in Spain line of leather scuffs, Jacques Levine’s success in the footwear industry was recognized in 2008, when its “Blaze” Mule was named by Footwear News as one of the top 50 most iconic shoes. Jacques Levine has also imported Spanish style espadrilles since the 1970s and was one of the first brands to bring the classic style to the United States. You can find Jacques Levine at some of the finest specialty stores across the United States, including Neiman Marcus and online at footnotesonline.com, slipperwarehouse.com, jildorshoes.com , onlyslippers.com and bagshop.com. Jacques Levine was inducted into the Footwear News Hall of Fame in 1998.

About Middletown Footwear, Inc.

A family business based New York, Middletown Footwear, Inc. sells women’s slippers, espadrilles, bridal shoes and evening shoes. Founded in 1936 when Falk Levine created the first Mule, which was one of many completely new bedroom, casual and fine evening styles produced in the Middletown Footwear factory which operated for more than 50 years. Today, Middletown Footwear imports its products from Spain, France, China, and Hong Kong. In addition to its flagship brand Jacques Levine, Middletown Footwear has a long history of producing private label footwear for luxury brands.

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