Katy Perry is responding to her fashion brand’s major faux pas. Two styles from the singer’s Katy Perry Collections shoes have sparked backlash for resembling blackface, as previously shared by the Inquisitr.
Two designs in the line, “The Rue Face Slip” and “The Ora Face Block Heel Sandal,” feature embellishments that include wide eyes and large lips that, on the black versions of the shoes, resemble the racist makeup used in minstrel shows in the 19th century. The offensive designs went viral over the weekend when activist Tamika Mallory shared a photo of the Katy Perry Collections shoes on social media.
In a statement to Page Six, Katy Perry expressed remorse for the unfortunate misinterpretation of her design. In the statement, the 34-year-old pop superstar and her brand management company, Global Brands Group, explained that The Rue and The Ora were released last summer as part of a nine-color collection. In addition to black designs, the shoes were made available in blue, gold, graphite, lead, nude, pink, red, and silver. Perry said the designs were “envisioned as a nod to modern art and surrealism.”
“I was saddened when it was brought to my attention that it was being compared to painful images reminiscent of blackface,” Perry said. “Our intention was never to inflict any pain. We have immediately removed them from katyperrycollections.com.”
The shoes, which retailed for $129, were pulled from online retailers.
— New York Post (@nypost) February 11, 2019
Not all of Katy Perry’s face-themed shoes are offensive. The Lefty Ballet Flat and the Jessica Ballet Flat feature the faces of a shark and a bunny rabbit on the front, respectively. The Easter Bunny flats were inspired by a pair of Perry’s beloved Dalmatian-themed shoes she found after her move to Los Angeles when she started her music career, according to Footwear News. Reviews on Amazon.com describe the shoes as “super cute” and “unique.”
Katy Perry Collections launched in February 2017. The brand’s official website says the shoes are “inspired by Katy’s travels, humor and extraordinary imagination” and are designed 100 percent by the Grammy-nominated singer.
Perry previously told Footwear News her shoes can be a conversation opener and are sometimes her form of “hello.”
“I swear I started so many conversations because of those shoes,” Petty said of her old Dalmatian-themed ballet flats. “I had to get them resoled several times — and I didn’t have the money for it.”
Keeping her past financial status in mind, Petty was mindful of her pricing strategy for her collection and ultimately retailed her line from $59 to $299. While there are now two less shoe styles available in the Katy Perry Collections, there are still many more to choose from.