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Benedict bids farewell to red shoes

The red shoes are being retired.

The Pope is giving up the trademark that briefly made him a fashion star, trading in his snappy ruby-red loafers for a pair of hand-crafted brown ones made for him by artisans in Mexico. He will wear those in retirement, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said.

The flash of red sparked (unfounded) rumours he was wearing Prada and helped make him Esquire magazine's 'accessoriser' of the year in 2007.

The actual designer was an Italian craftsman who had previously created a pair for Pope John Paul II, according to the Italian news agency ANSA.

A former Vatican official assured reporters back in 2005 that Benedict was no clothes horse, advising that the pontiff "wouldn't know Gucci from Smoochi."

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