Oscar de la Renta was inundated with calls Tuesday after the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals alleged on its Web site that Gilt was selling a style of the designer brand’s shoes that used the skin of elephants.
In a pointed rebuttal, a spokesman for de la Renta said late Tuesday, “This afternoon, PETA posted on its Web site a claim that Oscar de la Renta used elephant skin in our accessories products. In fact, this is not true, as Gilt Groupe has acknowledged that this resulted from them incorrectly labeling one of our products as being made from 100 percent elephant skin. They have acknowledged the mistake and have moved to correct it across their site.
“Unfortunately, many of their users have seen this and understandably are outraged, as are we. We do not and will never use elephant skin in any of our products.”
De la Renta officials declined further comment. Others said the confusion could have arisen over the use of elaphe, a type of rat snake.
On its Web site, PETA claimed, “By selling shoes made of elephant skin, both Gilt and Oscar de la Renta are complicit in the slaughter of these intelligent, social, and empathetic gentle giants. It is guilt by association: Make sure that Gilt and Oscar de la Renta know it by sending a letter to the companies today!” The site said that more than 100 elephants are killed by poachers each day.