Oh dear. Frequently tone deaf designers Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce have stepped in it YET AGAIN, this time calling a shoe from their Spring/Summer 2016 collection ‘Slave Sandal’. The sandal, which retails for an eye-watering $2,395, features bejeweled flowers and fur pompoms and frankly looks like something my cat threw up.
Aware of how quickly the online PC police can dominate a discussion, their US website quickly renamed the sandal “DECORATIVE FLAT SANDAL” – although the Italian site still lists it as Sandalo alla Schiava (which literally means “slave-style”).
The so-named shoe style comes from the brand’s spring 2016 collection, “a declaration of love to Italy,” as its website states. It’s currently available for pre-order there at $2,395 and has also popped up on other retailers’ sites, such as Saks Fifth Avenue, where the word “slave” is not included. In fact, if you scroll down to the sandal’s description on the Dolce & Gabbana site, the flat sandal is interestingly called “Bianca,” so we’re hoping this eyebrow-raising title is just a techno glitch. According to Footwear News, “slave” was at one time a common descriptor for a lace-up shoe silhouette; “gladiator” has been used instead for quite some time, since the idea of using the term “slave” to sell luxury footwear rightfully came into question.
Dolce & Gabbana are no strangers to controversy, of course. They had a ‘disco Africa’ party where this happened, featured racist and archaic “Blackamoor” figurines in a recent collection, publicly supported the Italian Trump™ Silvio Berlusconi, spoke out against LGBT marriage and gay adoption, said in vitro fertilization produced “synthetic children,” constantly fetishize the mafia, and recently ran into legal problems when it was discovered that they had evaded taxes. Online speculation is that they knew exactly what they were doing with these sandals, and are currently reveling in the attention.