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Does The Pope Wear Prada?

By Julien Sauvalle

Rather than speculating on the reasons behind his resignation and his poor track record on furthering the acceptance of gays by the Church, we chose to focus on Pope Benedict XVI's fabulous red slippers on this historical day.

Cardinal red has been the official color for pontifical footwear since the 16th Century, when the slippers would be hand-made in red satin and gold thread. The custom was abandoned by John Paul II, who switched to cordovan brown leather loafers from his native Poland.

To his credit, Pope Benedict XVI restored a certain sense of style to Vatican City and brought back the red slippers. While many revelled in the thought that the Pope, like the "Devil", wore Prada, his swanky slippers were actually custom-made by Antonio Arellano, his personal cobbler at Gammarelli on the nearby Via Santa Clara. On his many outings, the Pope was also seen wearing ruby red loafers created by Adriano Stefanelli.

You could get your own pair of papal slippers (prices start around €400/$525 at Stefanelli's), but we recommend you skip the wait list and shop our selection of papal-red footwear, right on this Spring's clergy trend.

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