GOODBYE, RED SHOES

The Associated Press Published:

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 says.

The flash of red sparked (unfounded) rumors he was wearing Prada and helped make him Esquire magazine's accessorizer of the year in 2007. The actual designer? 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 The Associated Press back in 2005 that Benedict was no clothes horse, advising that the pontiff "wouldn't know Gucci from Smoochi."

-- Matt Surman -- Twitter http://twitter.com/apsurman

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"Pope Live" follows the events of the final day of Pope Benedict XVI's papacy as seen by journalists from The Associated Press around the world. It will be updated throughout the day with breaking news and other items of interest. Follow AP reporters on Twitter where available. )