---Pope Benedict XVI has been here and gone (U.S visit, April 15, 2008 - April 20, 2008). So who doesn't want a pair of his snazzy red shoes? Does the Pope really wear Prada?
Papal shoes -- The Papal shoes are the red leather outdoor shoes worn by the Pope. They should not be confused with the indoor papal slippers or the Episcopal sandals, which are the liturgical footwear proper to all Latin Rite bishops...
Pope Paul VI eliminated the gold cross and completely discontinued the custom of kissing the papal foot. Paul VI can be seen wearing red buckled shoes in photographs from his 1964 trip to Jerusalem. In 1969, Paul VI abolished buckles from all ecclesiastical shoes, which had been customarily required at the Papal Court and for prelates. He also discontinued the use of the indoor velvet papal slippers and the Paschal mozzetta and shoes. Paul VI wore plain red leather shoes throughout the rest of his pontificate. Pope John Paul I, who was pope for only 33 days, continued wearing the plain red leather shoes worn by Paul VI. Early in his pontificate Pope John Paul II wore red shoes; however he quickly adopted wearing ordinary brown shoes. Paul VI, John Paul I, and John Paul II were buried in the red leather papal shoes.
Pope Benedict XVI restored the use of the red papal shoes, which are provided by his personal cobbler in Rome.* ...
Does the Pope Wear Prada? -- The senior Vatican official says the loafers were actually made by the pope's personal cobbler. But Prada has refused to confirm or deny the reports, allowing the press speculation to continue. A spokesman for Prada said the fashion house lacked "the necessary elements" to make an accurate determination...
update June 26, 2008:
The Vatican is still trying to kill the false rumor that Pope Benedict XVI wears Prada. Here is their latest story.
Pope's shoes not made by Prada -- Rumors that Pope Benedict XVI wears shoes made by high-fashion Italian designer Prada are "of course false," Vatican sources say.
Speculation that the Pope wears designer clothes has been flying around since he was elected in 2005, The Times of London reported Thursday.
The Pope's brightly colored red shoes and attractive sunglasses have prompted many to deem him a "style icon," the Times said.
The rumors were cleared up Thursday in L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper.
Vatican sources said the Pope gets his shoes from Adriano Stefanelli, a cobbler in Novara, Italy.
Spanish writer and author, Juan Manuel de Prada, wrote in the article the Pope is a "simple and sober man" and rumors saying otherwise were "stupid and banal."
"The Pope is not dressed by Prada but by Christ," he said.
TimesOnline [UK] / June 26, 2008:
The Pope wears Prada? That's cobblers, says the Vatican -- According to Vatican sources the Pope's shoes are made by a cobbler from Novara called Adriano Stefanelli, who makes them from calf or kid for the winter and nappa leather for the summer. Papal shoe repairs are carried out by Antonio Arellano, a Peruvian shoemaker in the Borgo, the medieval quarter next to St Peter's. The article, on "Ratzinger's Liturgical Vestments", was written by Juan Manuel de Prada, the noted Spanish writer and author of The Tempest, who is not related to the fashion company. De Prada said that the image of the German-born Pope as concerned with "frivolity" was at odds with the truth, which was that he was a "simple and sober" man. Suggestions to the contrary were "stupid and banal". ...