In the world of fashion, it’s important to know your Primark from your Prada, and it’s just as important to know how to pronounce them. Butchering the names of designer labels is considered to be the ultimate fashion faux pas, but with tricky spellings and foreign languages to consider – it’s a faux pas that many of us have already committed.
If you’re fed up of avoiding saying the name of your new designer bag, or having to stumble through a conversation about the latest catwalk trends, Jules B is here to help.We’ve asked our customers which names are the hardest to pronounce in fashion and found the eight which cause us the most problems. Follow our handy guide to getting these right and you’ll soon sound like a fashion expert.
Balmain: bahl – mahhhn
French fashion house Balmain was founded by Pierre Balmain, one of an elite group of innovative designers who led the French fashion renaissance after WWII. Today, Balmain retains it’s traditional Parisian routes, with new creative director, Olivier Rousteing (Oliv-ee-yay Roo-stain) at the helm. Rousteing is influenced by both the modern silhouette and the traditional techniques of classic couture that were established by those guiding Balmain before him. Quintessentially Parisian, the House of Balmain continues to innovate, setting trends that we all look to follow.
Comme des Garçons: comb day gah-sohn
Rei Kawakubo (Ray Ka-wa-koo-bo) is the mastermind behind Japanese fashion label Comme des Garçons. The brand is known for their relentless commitment to innovation, setting trends with exaggerated silhouettes, bold logos and textile choices. The name Comme des Garçons is French for ‘Like Boys’, however fashion followers suspect that the origins of the brand identity can be found in the Francoise Hardy song ‘’Tous les garcons et les filles‘. The song is a tale about a melancholic woman who constantly surrounds herself with amorous couples and features the line ‘comme les garçons et les filles de mon âge’.
French design house Givenchy is best known for their haute-couture clothing, lavish perfume ads and luxury cosmetics. Founded in 1952 by designer Hubert de Givenchy, the brand were the first to create a luxury ready-to-wear clothing line along with designing the very first shirt dress. The Givenchy empire is vast, designing everything from the interior of Hilton Hotels to the interior of luxury cars. For over 40 years, Audrey Hepburn was the designer’s muse and icons such as Elizabeth Taylor, Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis and Princess Grace of Monaco followed suit as loyal Givenchy clientele.
When someone mentions Hermès, most people immediately think of the luxury designer bags and the waiting lists that go with them. What many people don’t know is that the French house of Hermèswas actually established as a saddlery and equestrian leather goods maker. It’s a big step from horses to creating the most exclusive handbags in the world, but Hermes has cemented itself as the epitome of high fashion luxury. The name Hermès, comes from the brand’s creator Thierry Hermès, however it is also the name of the Greek god of messengers and commerce – apt considering a Hermès silk scarf is sold every 20 seconds! The brand have built a legacy for pushing boundaries and is now classed as one of THE leading luxury fashion houses.
Louis Vuitton: loo-wee vwee-tahn
It’s hard to believe that the origins of a luxury fashion house began in the French countryside, at the hands of a box-maker and packer. The origins of the brand’s name lies with its creator, Louis Vuitton. After arriving in Paris in 1837, he quickly gained a reputation as one of the best in the box-making field. He was appointed the personal box-maker of the Empress of France and in 1896, the famous LV monogram canvas was created to distinguish Vuitton products. In 1997 Marc Jacobs took over leadership of the brand as artistic director, introducing its first ready-to-wear collections for men and women alongside the signature luxury luggage, jewellery, shoes, watches, sunglasses and much more. From humble beginnings, it is now one of the most valuable companies in the world.
Bold, bright and and innovative – Moschino is the go-to brand for anyone looking to make a statement. With designer Jeremy Scott at the helm, the brand has become famous for it’s slogan t-shirts and tongue in cheek take on pop culture. It’s one of the most talked about brands in the world, founded in 1983 by Italian designer Franco Moschino. His original, colourful, often eccentric designs always drew headlines and today, they’re just as controversial as ever. Under Scott’s creative vision, Moschino gained notoriety for reinterpreting iconic logos such as Barbie, Coca Cola and McDonalds. The ‘in your face’ designs have become some of the most covetable for fashionistas, turning pop culture on it’s head and giving luxury fashion a much needed twist.
Versace is one of the most common mispronunciations, with many people often going the the softer ‘Ver-Sace’. The House of Versace was created by Gianni Versace in 1978, he took his inspiration from the arts and theatre, creating stunning haute couture with flashy prints and bold colours. The iconic Versace logo is the head of Medusa, chosen due to the mythical creatures ability to make people fall in love with her, with no way back. The Versace brand definitely has the same appeal on people, creating some of the most iconic pieces in fashion history, including the famous Elizabeth Hurley safety pin gown that was simple known as ‘that dress’. After Gianni’s death in 1997, his sister Donatella Versace took over as creative director. Versace continues to be the go-to brand for the biggest stars in Hollywood, offering opulence and luxury that’s designed to make a statement.
Yves Saint Laurent: eve san loh-rahn
We finish our list with one of the most legendary fashion houses, Yves Saint Laurent. The French luxury brand was founded in 1961 by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner, Pierre Berge. The brand soon became iconic thanks to their modern, iconic pieces, including the creation of the famous tuxedo suit for women that was unveiled in 1966. Yves Saint Laurent took inspiration from what was happening in the world, with iconic collections based on Pop Art, Ballet Russes, Picasso and China. He was one of the first to make ready-to-wear fashion, making his couture accessible to the masses, the brand also expanded into the fragrance and beauty market. Saint Laurent was famous for his saying ‘Chanel freed women, and I empowered them’ and was widely hailed as the creator of the contemporary woman’s wardrobe.