Dolce & Gabbana has been mired in more than its fair share of controversy — yet it's still a bit surprising, and certainly disappointing, when this type of thing happens yet again. The Italian fashion house's latest misstep: a pair of pom-pom accented leather shoes available on its website dubbed the "slave sandal."
The four-figure footwear is a part of Dolce & Gabbana's spring '16 tourist-inspired collection, and the shoe's name has since been changed to "Decorative Flat Sandal." (You can see a screenshot of its cringe-y original classification here and below.) In the item's description, the sandals in question are called "Bianca flat sandals" — no mention of "slave." The same style is also available for pre-order at Moda Operandi and Saks Fifth Avenue, but neither retailer uses the word "slave" to describe the pair. Footwear Newsreports that the term is an outdated descriptor for a lace-up sandal silhouette, now more commonly referred to as gladiator.
We have reached out to Dolce & Gabbana for comment, and will update this story when we hear back.
Dolce & Gabbana has made a few relatively progressive moves over the past few months, following a series of missteps in the last couple of years (including the blackamoor earrings and the designers' very poorly received comments on same-sex couples having children through adoption and IVF). In January, the brand revealed its first collection of hijabs and abayas. Shortly after, Gabbana teased a capsule collection with the hashtag #DGFamily, depicting same-sex couples and their children on handbags and T-shirts.
As innocuous as the erstwhile name of a pair of sandals might seem, it's a stumble that, unfortunately, detracts from the sligthly more positive inroads D&G has made recently.