Foot binding started as early as the North and South dynasties era, with the emperor of Southern Qi's favourite concubine praised for having small feet. It was said that many other court ladies start to bind their own feet to earn the attention of the emperor, who was overthrown within a few years.
Posts 7 to 14 asked for more evidence, but nobody provided any. After some digging, I found that Koolasuchus was probably referring to a poem by Tang scholar Han Wo 韓偓 (844 - ca. 923), who was famous for his erotic poetry. Here's the poem as it is translated on p. 31 of Dorothy Ko's Every Step a Lotus: Shoes for Bound Feet.
Ode to the Slippers
Glowing, glowing, six inches of succulent flesh;
Embroidered slipper in white silk, lined in red.
Not much of a romantic, the southern dynasty emperor,
Yet he prefers the golden lotus to green leaves.
[Maybe someone could find the original in Quan Tangshi 全唐詩 (Shanghai guji chubanshe, 1995), p. 1719.]
Here is Ko's analysis on whether this poem constitutes evidence that footbinding started under the Southern dynasties or under the Tang:
The last two lines of "Ode to the Slippers" introduce two salient motifs of the origin myths of footbinding that came to flourish in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries - a decadent ruler and a lotus blossom. The "southern dynasty emperor" is Xiao Baojian, also known as the Duke of Donghun, who ruled the southern kingdom of Qi from 499 to 501. He was said to have shaped gold leaves into lotus blossoms on the floor and had his favorite consort, Pan, thread on them. The enraptured duke exclaimed: "Every step a lotus," twisting a Buddhist reference to the path of piety into an anti-Buddhist statement of wanton lust (hence the poet's indictment of his lack of a refined sense of romance in the third line.
Note by Ko: "This story first appeared in an official history compiled during the Tang dynasty, History of the Southern Dynasties [Nanshi 南史]. But it became part of the footbinding lore after Song scholar Zhang Bangji made the connection in his Mozhuang manlu (Random notes from the Ink Estate; ca. 1174)." Ko goes on:
One year after the duke's death, his kingdom collapsed, and consort Pan became a classic femme fatale in the history books. Centuries later, storytellers expounded on the lotus imagery, by then firmly identified with the bound foot, and made her into the first woman to bind her feet.
This citation is from p. 32 of Ko's book. On p. 34, she has this:
It would be wrong to insist that this ode is proof of the Tang origins of footbinding. Neither is there any indication that the historic Consort Pan, or any fifth-century woman, wrapped her feet with strips of fabric. But the consort can be said to have prefigured the connection between the lotus, dancing, and sensuality in the Southland, which later constituted footbinding's main appeal. She was well known enough to the readers of "Ode to the Slippers" that the poet did not have to name her explicitly. With the retelling of her story, the association between an erotic gaze on female feet and lotus imagery was sealed in the minds of tenth-century readers.
Yun could help us by telling us more about the Duke of Donghun and his consort, but it seems quite clear that Han Wo's poem cannot be taken as evidence that footbinding started during the Age of Fragmentation!