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Pair of El Greco loafer sample shoes by John Karadonis

Made 1984
This pair of slip on shoes, made in 1984 as a sample by eminent footwear designer and manufacturer, John Karandonis, exemplifies the characteristics that made the Karandonis brand a household name in Australia in the early 1970s and successive years. Synonymous with craftsmanship and style - qualities generally attributed at that time to European brands - this pair of shoes known as the 'JK' were handmade under the El Greco and Karandonis label in the very popular classic style. The shoes are defined by the use of quality raw materials, the elegance of the design and superior finish, which include hand lasting and hand stitching.

Designed to complement men's fashion, Karandonis footwear has a timeless quality still evident more than 30 years on. To devotees, price was never an issue; such was the reputation of shoes made by Karandonis.

Over the years, Karandonis shoes have received many industry accolades, featured in exhibitions, fashion shows and publications and been worn by many well known names in contemporary Australian society, like Gough Whitlam, Tony Barber and Bert Newton.

In recognition for his significant contribution to manufacturing in Australia, Karandonis received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the 2014 Queen's Birthday list, General Division for: 'Service to the footwear industry, particularly as a designer and manufacturer.'

Summary

Object No.

2014/120/2

Object Statement

Shoes (pair) with packaging, 'El Greco', sample design, mens, kid leather / card, designed by John Karandonis, Marrickville, New South Wales, Australia, 1984

Physical Description

Pair of men's black kid leather hand lasted slip on shoes in size 8, featuring decorative detailing across the instep, including side medallions and stitched pleating. The cushioned insole is removable.

Shoe box in gloss burgundy cardboard featuring centred Karandonis logo in yellow: ' EL GRECO / SINCE 1968 / (Trademark logo) / JOHN K / ESTABLISHED BY JOHN KARANDONIS IN SYDNEY'

Long sides of the box printed in yellow: '(Trademark logo) / El Greco / STYLED BY JOHN KARANDONIS'

Marks

Printed in black ink on left and right insole - ' (logo) / El Greco / Since 1968 JOHN KARANDONIS / SIZE 8' (The number 8 appears to be handwritten in black texta.)

Sole of left shoe: 'EL GRECO / STYLED BY / JOHN KARANDONIS / (leather symbol) 'vero cucio'

Sole of right shoe: ' EL GRECO / STYLED BY / JOHN KARANDONIS / LEATHER UPPER / LEATHER SOLE / LEATHER LINING'

Production

Made

1984

Notes

Made from kid leather in 1984 as a sample, this pair of loafer style slip on shoes (known as the 'El Greco') were designed and manufactured by John Karandonis.

Born 5 January 1933 in Iraklion, Crete, the birthplace of famous artist, El Greco, John Karandonis, first began hand making shoes in 1946 at the young age of 13. In 1950 he was awarded a gold medal in the Women's Shoes category at the International Footwear Show in Salonika. He subsequently spent several years from 1954 working on collections for a leading shoe manufacturer before migrating to Australia in 1960 where he joined Australian footwear manufacturer Packard Shoe Company in 1961. While employed at Packard's, John designed the successful Gallati range which sold for $21.00 per pair in comparison to the more modestly priced $12.99 Packard line.

In 1966 John left Packards to begin working as a freelance shoe designer and by 1968 with the support of his wife Kaye, El Greco Footwear Pty Ltd was established in Marrickville, Sydney. By 1971 a moccasin style shoe patented by Karandonis was to become synonymous with the newly launched Karandonis brand.

Emphasising quality over quantity, the factory at Marrickville could accommodate up to 80 employees with a yearly production capacity for 100 000 pairs of shoes, mostly for the Australian market with some exports to New Zealand and Singapore.

Subsequently manufactured in China, the Karandonis brand is still available though John's involvement in the company ended in 1998. In the intervening years, John has concentrated on designing an easy to get on and off shoe for babies and toddlers he has patented under the name 'Slidees'.

In recognition for his significant contribution to manufacturing in Australia, Karandonis received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the 2014 Queen's Birthday list, General Division for: 'Service to the footwear industry, particularly as a designer and manufacturer.'

History

Notes

These handmade shoes were donated to the Museum by the maker, John Karandonis.

Source

Credit Line

Gift of John Karandonis, 2014

Acquisition Date

30 October 2014

Cite this Object

Harvard

Pair of El Greco loafer sample shoes by John Karadonis 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 4 June 2020, <https://ma.as/509582>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/509582 |title=Pair of El Greco loafer sample shoes by John Karadonis |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=4 June 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

Incomplete

This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.

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