Summary

Pair of pale green leather, high heeled court shoes, hand-made by Cavalli, in Bologna, Italy, in the 1960s. They were the personal property of the donor, and she particularly liked them. She and her husband used to undertake buying trips, particularly to Europe, and these probably would have been purchased on one of these trips.

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 pale green leather, high heeled Paragon shoes, with a closed pointed toe. Detail of small square studs placed underneath the surface leather to create added texture and three-dimensional surface, appearing as a repeating spot.

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.

More Information

  • Collection Names

    Paragon Shoe Collection

  • Collecting Areas

    Working Life & Trades, Clothing & Textiles

  • Acquisition Information

    Donation from Mrs Diana Gaze, Mrs Diana Gaze, 26/10/2005

  • Date Made

    Italy, 1960s
    Dated by donor.

  • Distributor

    Paragon Shoes, Melbourne, Greater Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Need to confirm that these were made for Paragon rather than just being purchased as part of market research by Paragon.

  • Inscriptions

    On inside of sole in gold and impressed: "B / HANDMADE / IN ITALY / BY CA / VAL / LI / BOLOGNA"

  • Classification

    Clothing, Female, Footwear

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline

    Technology

  • Type of item

    Object

  • Overall Dimensions

    23.5 cm (Length), 7.5 cm (Width), 14.5 cm (Height)

  • References

    Howard, G., 2004. Lex Davison: Larger Than Life'. Turton & Armstrong, Sydney. Copies of several newspaper articles about Paragon from the early 1920s were included with the donation. The State Library of Victoria holds an archive relating to the Paragon business, containing receipt books, account books, advertising, clippings, sample book, sketches, photographs and a poster - MS 13570. The content dates range circa 1928-1988. An additional archive, PA 01/05, ranges 1940s-1980s.

  • Keywords

    Footwear Industry, Manufacturing, Making History - Paragon Shoes