Psst: The Pope Never Actually Wore Prada

When reading today’s fascinating story on Pope Benedict XVI‘s pending transition into private life, we learned a few interesting facts:

  • The Pope will not go back to using his legal name, Joseph Ratzinger. He’ll be Benedict from now on. He will also be known as “Pope emeritus” and retain the honorific “His Holiness.”
  • He will continue wearing all-white outfits but will no longer rock the velvet capes, “fur-trimmed stocking caps” or those famous red shoes.
  • Finally: despite widespread rumors to the contrary that began around 2005, Prada does not make the ruby red slippers and never did–they came from a tailor shop in Rome that will also be making clothes for his successor, whoever that may be.

The Vatican took nearly three years to clarify the Prada rumors via its official newspaper after The Wall Street Journal printed a story about Pope product placement that mentioned marketers “praying” to see the pontiff wear their own brands in public.

There was something to the trend: While the Pope never actually wore Prada, he did wear glasses by Serengetti and walking shoes “donated by Geox“. The media also quickly labeled him “The Prada Pope” because, unlike his predecessor John Paul, he saw nothing wrong with playing dress-up.

While we find the Vatican’s delay a little strange, the people at Prada were very happy to let the misconceptions fester–the company never issued a statement to the contrary despite repeated requests, and we can certainly see why!