For MVVM usage scenarios you bind the NavigationPane.ItemSource to the list of your custom view objects. Here is how to create and bind items properly:

<dc:NavigationPane DataContext="{Binding RelativeSource={RelativeSource FindAncestor, AncestorType={x:Type Window}}}" ItemsSource="{Binding Path=PaneItems}" LargeItemsCount="2">
            <TextBlock Text="{Binding Path=DisplayName}" />
        <Style TargetType="{x:Type dc:PaneItem}">
            <Setter Property="ImageSource" Value="{Binding Path=DisplayImage}" />

Notice that we created new ItemTemplate and also notice how Image is set by creating ItemContainerStyle.

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