Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 15 November 2019

Katy Perry's shoes pulled from stores after 'blackface' backlash

The star was criticised for the 'racist' design of slip-on loafers from her eponymous collection

Katy Perry arrives at the 61st Grammy Awards on February 10, 2019. Reuters
Katy Perry arrives at the 61st Grammy Awards on February 10, 2019. Reuters

Another day, another item yanked from shop shelves due to offensive imagery. Just days after luxury label Gucci apologised for selling a jumper with a design likened to "blackface", shoes from Katy Perry's namesake collection have been removed from stores amid claims of racism.

The slip-on loafer mules from the American singer's line of footwear have been axed from US retailers including Walmart and Dillard's, according to Variety, after being criticised online for resembling blackface make-up.

The design featured a pair of eyes, a nose, and a large set of red lips on a black leather front, with the imagery also replicated on a low-heeled sandal. The items also came in a beige hue, though it is the $129 (Dh475) black design which has sparked outrage.

Perry first unveiled her eponymous shoe line in 2017, and has not yet publicly commented on the issue – although the Ora Face Block Heels are still available in gold on the Katy Perry Collections website. According to the site, the collections are "designed 100%" by Perry.

The Roar hit-maker was called out over the weekend for the designs, with many comparing the imagery to that of Gucci's aforementioned sweater.

In response to the widespread criticism of its "balaclava jumper", Gucci issued a statement on its Twitter account last week, apologising for any offence caused.

"We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make," Gucci posted.

"We are fully committed to increasing diversity throughout our organisation and turning this incident into a powerful learning moment for the Gucci team and beyond."

The Italian label is not the first fashion brand to be party to claims of racism, with Prada removing keychains and storefront figurines that evoked comparisons to blackface from stores in December. Dolce & Gabbana also issued an apology last November, after releasing a video showing a Chinese model using chopsticks to try to eat Italian food. The brand subsequently postponed a catwalk show in Shanghai, while Chinese e-commerce sites removed Dolce & Gabbana products from their listings.

Updated: February 12, 2019 11:05 AM

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