John Lewis has stopped selling a children’s party dress named “Lollita” after it was criticised on social media.
The maroon dress, which featured lace embroidered sleeves and a flowing knee-length skirt, is made by clothing brand Chi Chi London and was being sold on the department store’s website.
Retailing for £50, it was available in sizes for children aged three to 11 years old.
Social media users criticised the dress’s name, which is similar to Russian-American author Vladimir Nabokov’s 1955 novel Lolita.
Lolita tells the story of a 12-year-old girl named Dolores who is sexually abused by her middle-aged stepfather, who calls her “Lolita”.
Sharing a screenshot of the dress on the John Lewis website to Twitter, writer Victoria Coren Mitchell said: “If you were going to think of a name for a child’s party dress, what would you NOT call it?”
The post has received more than 600 replies and has been liked almost 8,000 times.
“Are you kidding @JohnLewisRetail? Who is responsible for this? Do you have anyone with the education to know why this is totally unacceptable?” one user commented.
Another wrote: “Even if you haven’t read the book then surely, surely someone in this process must have had some inkling that maybe this didn’t seem quite right…”
Prior to removing the dress from sale, John Lewis’ website described it as a “partywear favourite”.
“Lined with satin for a soft and comfortable finish, this pretty dress features delicate metallic embroidery, scalloped edges and a chiffon skirt with tulle underlay that’s perfect for twirling on the dance floor,” the description said.
The dress is no longer listed on Chi Chi London’s website. It was also previously available on the Littlewoods website.
A spokesperson for John Lewis said: “We removed this product from sale as soon as it was brought to our attention, and we apologise for the upset caused.”
The Independent has contacted Littlewoods and Chi Chi London for comment.