The material used was created from the skin of a "dog-faced water snake", the lawsuit claims, an animal that was listed as endangered in 1973 - the use of which contravenes the Indian Wildlife Act. The shoes were seized at JFK International Airport in New York, documents reveal, after customs officials noted a discrepancy in the items' description and investigated further.
"According to documents filed in court on Tuesday, the shipment documentation that was included with the shoes was faulty," The Fashion Lawreports. "Assistant US Attorney Karin Orenstein notes that statements that the snakeskins originated in China are inaccurate. 'The dog-faced water snake, Cerberus rynchops, is not known to have a wild population in China,' she wrote. Instead, this particular snake resides in Southeast Asia. The snakeskin used to make the shoes, the price of which is estimated to reach $50,000 in total, were reportedly sent to Hong Kong from China, then to Italy, then to the United States."
A spokesperson for the brand told us this morning that the company is "investigating the matter and cannot make any further comment" at this stage.