Summary

One platform right shoe, Parker Coronal label, 'Venito' style. Made around the 1970s by Parker - 'styled' in New York. Possibly acquired by Paragon Shoes as a sample.

Paragon Shoes Pty Ltd was one of the most significant 20th century Australian shoe retailers, and at one time was the largest manufacturer of high quality of women's shoes in Australia. Its factory was located in Melbourne, and its shoes were sold throughout Australia and New Zealand.

In the early 1970s Paragon bought the Parker label through an arrangement with David Jones. The Parker range had been carried by Georges.

According to the Powerhouse Museum, the Parker Shoe Company was established by Malcolm Parker, who manufactured quality fashion shoes in Australia from 1930 until the late 1960s. These dates may not be entirely accurate. In 1928 Malcom Parker, of the Parker Shoe Company, then of Clifton Hill, appeared before a Parliamentary Shoe Committee to defend the use of machinery from the British United Shoe Machinery Company (Argus, 30 October 1928, p.10). In 1941 Parker Shoe Company was advertised in The Argus as being exclusive to Georges (5 April, p.15S). According to the Australian Securities & Investments Commission, the business name Parker Shoe Company Proprietary Limited was not deregistered until 1980.

Physical Description

Candy pink and clear PVC platform Paragon right shoe - one only, comprised of an open toe and back, large PVC strap across front of shoe, and four horizontal fine pink straps stitched onto PVC, with two middle straps meeting on centre front with loop, seen as holding the straps together. Pink strap with buckle around back of ankle. All leather sole.

Significance

The Paragon Shoe Collection comprises over 90 objects, including pairs of shoes and single shoes, point-of-sale materials and promotional materials such as business cards and an umbrella bearing the company name. The Collection documents the business and products of Paragon Shoes Pty Ltd, one of the most significant 20th century Australian shoe retailers, and at one time the largest manufacturer of high quality of women’s shoes in Australia. Its factory was located in Melbourne, and its shoes were sold throughout Australia and New Zealand.

The collection was largely donated by a member of the Davison family, which ran the Paragon business for most of the 20th century. It documents the changing designs of Australian women's footwear, from the 1910s to the 1980s. It illustrates the development of new shoe styles, from sample shoes bought overseas to shoes that went into production and were worn by Australian women. The collection is complemented by an archive held at the State Library of Victoria, including company records, shoe design sketch books and further point-of-sale material.

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