Summary

Pair of two-toned tan leather and suede shoes with closed pointed toe and high heel. Single strap with buckle. Part of the Milady 'Darin range', made by Paragon. Worn by the donor, they were one of her favourite pairs. She has a photograph of herself wearing them in a fashion parade.

Paragon developed an association with retailer Milady, as well as selling through outlets such as Buckley & Nunn and Mabs McQuirk (in Sydney). Paragon eventually went into partnership with Miladys and opened two further shops to sell Paragon shoes, including a large shop at the corner of Elizabeth and Collins Streets.

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.

Physical Description

Pair of two-toned tan leather and suede Paragon shoes with closed pointed toe and heel. Single strap with buckle; open on sides. Tan leather on toe; suede upper, which stretches across from the inside of the shoe in a solid piece to the other side, parting in four vertical strips. 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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