As Seen In… Newton Elkin for Pandora shoes

This a great example to show how advertisements in fashion magazines were often drawn instead of photographed because drawn illustrations could idealize the product — the slimness of the heel and the narrowness of the toe. These shoes were designed by Newton Elkin for the label Pandora and the advertisment shows the exact pair in an advertisment from U.S. Vogue, September 1, 1954 looking much slimmer than reality.

About Jonathan

Jonathan Walford is a fashion historian and co-founder of the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario. The FHM maintains a collection of nearly 12,000 artifacts dating from the mid 17th century to the present. Jonathan has authored various books and museum catalogues, including The Seductive Shoe, Shoes A-Z, Forties Fashion, 1950s American Fashion, and Sixties Fashion.
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17 Responses to As Seen In… Newton Elkin for Pandora shoes

  1. MissRayne says:

    Yes, I’ve got several pairs of Raynes that simply don’t compare to the adverts in this way. Even in the 30s the slimness was exagerated.

  2. Judith Everett says:

    I enjoyed seeing your story on the sketches of Newton Elkin Shoes for Pandora. My father, William Paxson, was the sales representative for Newton Elkin from 1947 to 1974. The designer, Marian Woods, was a talented artist who sketched the entire line each season. Mr. Paxson serviced Newton Elkin accounts in some of the finest stores in the nation — stores such as John Wanamaker in Philadelphia; Bonwit Teller in New York and Philadelphia; Marshall Field in Chicago. He retired in the late 1970s and passed away in 1991 at the age of 94. He was a fine man.

    • Jonathan says:

      Thank-you for that information – it was difficult piecing together what I could find about Newton Elkin. I am happy to know William Paxson was part of the operation, as well as the name Marian Woods. You know, the information is out there, its just about pulling it all together! Thank-you for your comments.

    • Carol Lipton says:

      My uncle was the president of Erica Shoes, and Newton Elkin was one of the private label brand names that he sold the shoes under. I believe these were at B. Altman and Saks Fifth Avenue. His name was Sidney Seidner.

      His factory was located at 632 Broadway in Soho. I used to visit it quite often when I was in college, and he’d give me scrap leather to make things.

      I designed most of my shoes in high school, and my uncle would custom make them for me. After seeing “Bonnie & Clyde”, I designed a pair of patent leather spectator pumps, white with navy. The style became the best selling shoe in his entire line at Saks Fifth Avenue in 1968.

      My uncle was married to my mother’s sister, Rachel Seidner. He died in 1980, and my aunt died in 2005.

      My uncle taught himself shoemaking and started working when he was only 8 years old. He used to walk several miles to work every day.

      In NYC, the shoes were sold at all of the best department stores. My uncle designed all of the shoes himself, although h did have a female shoe designer, who if I recall was European.

      I live in New York. My uncle has one surviving child who lives in Virginia.

  3. Esther Mills says:

    My grandfather worked for Newton Elkin in Philadelphia. He was an Italian immigrant who trained as a shoemaker in Italy, came to this country around 1912, and worked in the factory after WWI for pretty much his whole life. Supposedly the Newton Elkin factory was located on Tulip Street in the Richmond section of Philadelphia but I can’t seem to find an address for the factory. Any information would be appreciated!

    • Jonathan says:

      Its not easy finding information about Newton Elkin, but hopefully more people will piece together the bits and pieces of info!

      • Agnes Ciliberti says:

        My Grandfather Carmen Ciliberti, my Dad William and uncle Mike all worked many years at Newton Elkins. The factory was located at Monmouth and Janey st. My dad started working there in around 1930 and was there till it closed. Don’t know when my grandfather started there but it was many years before my dad was born.

        • Jonathan says:

          I am gradually pulling together enough information about Newton Elkin to do a proper listing. Thanks for the info!

  4. Marie Zarzaca says:

    My Father, Peter Zarzaca, was the Foreman in the shoe lasting department at Newton Elkins in Philadelphia, Pa. from the mid 1940’s to mid 1950’s. He worked side by side with Marion Woods and assisted in the design of fine shoes for woman under the Pandora label, but also individual labels for upscale stores such as Bonwit Teller, John Wanamaker and Marshal Fields, to name a few. He was responsible for making the shoe samples from design to completion. I am in possession of Original sketches
    of shoes designed and manufactured at Newton Elkins during this period, styles that would be considered contemporary today.

    • Jonathan says:

      That’s fantastic! So little has been written about Newton Elkin and Pandora. Great to have a bit more of who did what and when – thanks for sharing! I would love to get photocopies of the sketches for our archives, if you are willing…

  5. Bill ciliberti says:

    My Grandfather Carmen Ciliberti, my Dad William and uncle Mike all worked at Newton Elkins for many years. Dad started working there around 1930. He was there till in closed sometime in the early 1970s.

  6. Patsy says:

    Newton Elkins fit my size 9 AAAA foot perfectly and I loved to wear them. They were beautiful and I might add “sexy” but most of all they fit my feet. Who has possession of the shoe lasts today? Or, who has some engineering idea of the dimensions of the shoe lasts so that I could get some shoes custom made? I still have Newton Elkins shoes that I kept to use as an example of fit if I found someone to make the shoes. Hope someone can help me fit my very slender feet.

    • Jonathan says:

      As far as I am aware, narrow sizes like yours are now only made to order. However, I often find vintage styles with narrow fits. I also find some makers tend to be narrower than others – Italian footwear always seems to be narrower than say, German footwear.

  7. Margot E Arden says:

    My name is Margot Elkin Arden and Newton Elkin was my paternal grandfather. I am trying to piece together as much information as I can about his life. I believe that he owned the shoe company with 3 other family members and it was eventually bought out by Buster Brown. I never met him because he died before I was born but my family speaks very highly of him.

    • Jonathan says:

      I knew Beth Levine and she knew Newton Elkin and had only good things to say about him. Unfortunately, she, like most people, didn’t have much else to say at all. His life seems to be a bit of mystery, so if you can piece something together, please let me know!

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