Joan Helpern

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Joan Helpern
Joan Evelyn Marshall

(1926-10-10)October 10, 1926
DiedMay 8, 2016(2016-05-08) (aged 89)
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
OccupationShoe designer
Known forJoan & David Shoes

Joan Evelyn Helpern (née Marshall; October 10, 1926 – May 8, 2016) was an American shoe designer. She was the creative partner in the company Joan & David Shoes, with her husband, David Helpern.

Early life[edit]

Joan Evelyn Marshall was born on October 10, 1926 in the Bronx. She attended and graduated from Hunter College in Manhattan, majoring in economics, psychology and English. She earned a master's degree in social psychology from Columbia University and a doctorate in psychology from Harvard University.[1]

Joan and David Helpern married in 1960. Joan Helpern was studying at Harvard, and later became a child psychologist in the New York City school system.[2] David Helpern worked in his family's clothing stores.[1] After becoming acquainted with the offerings in women's shoes through her husband's business, she began a second career designing shoes. She worked first for a small Boston shoe company and also consulted with other shoe manufacturers.[1]

Joan & David[edit]

In 1967 Halpern and her husband decided to start their own shoe company.[1] They specialized in high-fashion women's shoes,[3] although their line also included handbags and other accessories.[1] While the standard for a women's shoe was the high heel, Helpern stated that she was designing shoes for women who "run through airports". Their first pair of shoes were blue and white oxfords.[4]

They had revenues of $100 million in 1986.[3] The couple sold their business in 2000.[2]


Joan Helpern died in Manhattan on May 8, 2016. David Helpern had died in 2012.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e Roberts, Sam (May 11, 2016). "Joan Helpern, 89, the Creative Partner in the Company Joan & David Shows". New York Times.
  2. ^ a b c Vitello, Paul (June 9, 2012). "David M. Helpern, Chief of Joan & David Apparel Brand, Dies at 94". New York Times. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
  3. ^ a b Grumhaus, Audrey D. (March 22, 1987). "CAN A LOW-PRICED DOLLAR KILL A HIGH-PRICED SHOE?". New York Times. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
  4. ^ Cunningham, Erin. "You Can Thank This Woman For Comfortable Shoes". Refinery 29. Retrieved 11 May 2016.