I’ve shown several pairs of vintage DeLiso Debs by Palter DeLiso here on my blog and I also happen to have two vintage DeLiso boxes. It is always desirable to keep the original shoe boxes if possible but seldom happened in the vintage shoes in my experience. The boxes were originally only meant to house the shoes, protect them in transport and keep them clean until they reached their owner. Many people threw them away and stored their shoes in closets or hanging shoe bags. I am lucky (I guess, but don’t decide until you see the way they look!) to have two of the early versions of the DeLiso Debs (or however you spell it!) boxes.
I recall seeing a dull gray blue cardboard one with white writing on it that came from the 40’s. I do not have one of those at this time. But the majority of the DeLiso boxes I have seen were either the orange or the blue or the gold version of the orange& pink one pictured below. This was what I call their Mid-Century Modern box design and I think it was the most popular and well known of the DeLiso boxes. It was first introduced in the 1950’s and stayed in use in one color version or another for a couple of decades. It became recognizable to the ladies who bought DeLiso Debs as their box.
Nowadays this packaging and branding is considered very important. Keep that thought in mind as you read on and ponder what they did next!
The actual orange & pink box in this picture above was given to me with a different pair of shoes in it! A non-DeLiso pair of shoes! That is weird, but that is what happened. I know the brown Alligator shoes pictured would have come in a similar box so I am admittedly cheating a bit by sticking this pair of shoes in the box for the sake of a more interesting picture! It you look carefully the label on the end of the box says it originally housed a pair of black shoes! I know these came in the same era and the same style and color of box so, this is legitimate for the purpose of illustration. I have seen the same box design in a blue & aqua version and a gold & yellow version. The DeLiso logo was the same on all of these box colors – only the colors of the boxes changed.
I call this box design the Mid-Century Modern DeLiso Debs Shoe Box . (Please note, that is my name for it, not an official company name.) The company used this box for several decades. I find it cute and recognizable as the DeLiso Debs shoe box. The company grew and became more and more popular and successful.
Then, suddenly, in the late 1970’s, somebody in advertising suggested DeLiso change both their boxes and their name and the way they spelled it! They updated their image and boxes to the unbelievably horrible version in the yellow, gold and brown cardboard box shown above! They took the Debs out of the name! They respelled the name in ugly lettering. The eliminated all class and all vintage charm from the name, the label and the box!
Note the change in presentation of the name and how it is spelled. This was constantly changing and it never seemed to settle down. The only advantage to that was that a customer never had to worry if she was or was not spelling it correctly. It became terribly confusing. And it still is. It is as if all the letters that spell DeLiso have been agitating in a washing machine cycle for several decades. Where ever the letters land when the agitator stops is the way we’ll spell it today! This drives me nuts when I am trying to write about the company! It’s like the Dutch language, constantly evolving!
I hate the 1970’s box! But, as far as I know there was not another box or container design after that. And the visual horrors do not end there! Wait until you see what they did to the inside of the shoes they made after that!