The pontiff has been hailed as a “style icon” since his election just over three years ago and speculation has been rife that he enjoys designer clothes. Attention has focused not only on his often elaborate headgear and fashionable sunglasses but also on his dainty red shoes, or moccasins, widely assumed to be made by Prada.
However L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, categorically denied reports today that the shoes were a Prada product, saying this was “of course false”.
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”.
Well, excuse the Manolo, for being interested. So who does dress His Holiness, Señor de Prada?
“The Pope is not dressed by Prada but by Christ,” he said.
That certainly clears up any confusion.