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Oscar De La Renta has come out swinging after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals alleged on its website that the e-tailer Gilt was selling a style of the luxury brand’s shoes made with elephant skin. In a blog post that has since been removed, the animal-rights group accused both Oscar De La Renta and Gilt of being “complicit in the slaughter of these intelligent, social, and empathetic gentle giants” and “guilt[y] by association.”

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Oscar De La Renta officials have strongly refuted the claim. “This afternoon, PETA posted on its Web site a claim that Oscar de la Renta used elephant skin in our accessories products,” a representative said in a statement late Tuesday.

The spokesman blamed an error in Gilt’s labeling for the confusion.

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“They have acknowledged the mistake and have moved to correct it across their site,” he said. “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.”

WWD speculates that the confusion may have stemmed from the use of elaphe, a genus of rat snake.

We find it unlikely, however, that PETA would be mollified by that revelation.

[Via WWD]