The Corner

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B16, Fashion Plate?


Taking a break from the leftovers, I spotted this item in today’s New York Times story on Pope Benedict XVI:

“This being Italy, and the papacy being an Italian institution, fashion should not go unmentioned: a somewhat dowdy, professorish man has taken to stylish sunglasses and bright red shoes made by Prada.”

I can’t comment on the Pope’s choice of sunglasses, but in choosing to wear red shoes he is reviving a venerable tradition, red shoes having for centuries been associated with imperial office, and thus having been worn by Byzantine emperors, Holy Roman emperors, and, in their capacity as successors to the caesars, the popes in Rome. Apparently unaware of this tradition, the Times’ Ian Fisher gets the story backwards: far from attempting a wild and crazy fashion statement, as Fisher seems to suggest, Benedict is dressing according to form, which is to say, acting with humility. Not a big deal, of course, but a nice grace note from a graceful pontiff.

Now back to the turkey sandwiches.


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