Summary

Single, right platform shoe, 1970s, labelled 'Biba', made in Italy. Probably purchased by Paragon as a sample. Biba was established in London in 1964 by a former fashion illustrator, and by the early 1970s had become a large department store and a centre for high fashion.

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

Platform sandal with metallic silver/pink leather uppers with peep toe, tear-shaped cut-outs and sling back. Sole and heel covered with metallic purple leather. Synthetic upper; 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.

More Information

  • Collection Names

    Paragon Shoe Collection

  • Collecting Areas

    Clothing & Textiles, Working Life & Trades

  • Acquisition Information

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

  • Maker

    Biba International Limited, 1970s
    Biba was established in 1964.

  • User

    Paragon Shoes, Melbourne, Greater Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1970s
    Probably purchased by Paragon as a sample used in the development of locally manufactured designs.

  • Inscriptions

    Insole: "BIBA / MADE IN ITALY" On underside of sole: "L13" written in red biro (hard to see)

  • Classification

    Clothing, Female, Footwear

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline

    Technology

  • Type of item

    Object

  • Object Measurement

    23 cm (Length), 7.5 cm (Width), 19 cm (Height)

  • Maximum dimensions

    218 mm (Length), 75 mm (Width), 182 mm (Height)
    Measurement From Conservation.

  • 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