The Rain in Spain Lies Mostly on The Plain- how to pronounce designer names

How to pronounce Ralph Lauren?

ANSWER: B Lauren like the girl’s name NOT like Sophia Loren)

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Last week I took a trip to one of my favorite outlets to do some shopping.

My hubby was in need of some new pants (John Varvatos is his favorite) so I inquired to a store employee (I am going to spell these phonetically so that its easier to follow my building frustration):

ME: “Excuse me, do you have any John Var-VAY- toes pants”?

EMPLOYEE: “Yes we have John Var-VAH-tos“?

ME: “Okay….. but do you have John Var-VAY-toes?”

EMPLOYEE: “That’s what I said. The John Var-VAH-tos is over here” (then he adds a snobby stink eye look).

ME: “I am looking for John Var-VAY-toes“.

EMPLOYEE: “Honey, its Var-VAH-tos“. (the condescending snot)

ME: “No HONEY (I’m pissed now) it isn’t.  It’s Var-VAY-toes“. (He throws his hands up, rolls his eyes, shakes his head and walks away- convinced that I was the mispronouncing moron).

Needless to say I was super irritated.  Shopping trip ruined.

I hear designer names mispronounced all the time.  I have even been an offender on occasion, especially with some of the French ones.  So I thought this week I would do a public service and give a pronunciation list for designer names so that none of us ever fall victim to a shop clerk with bad information setting us on the wrong path!

Anna Sui  (Anna Swee)

Badgley Miska (Badge-lee Meesh-ka)

Balenciaga (Bah-len-see-aga)

Balmain (Bahl-mahhhn)

Bebe (Bee-bee)

Bottega Veneta (BO-teg-a Ven-eta)

Bulgari/Bvlgari (Ball-gah-ree)

Burberry Prorsum (BUR-bur-ree Proar-SOME)

Carolina Herrera (Caro-leena Hair-era)

Cartier (Kar-tee-aye)

Christian Louboutin (Christian Loo-boo-tin)

Etienne Aigner (Eh-tee-yen On-yay)

Givenchy (Jhee-VON-shee)

Hermes (AIR-mehz)

Herve Leger (AIR-vay Lay-jay)

John Varvatos (John Var-vay-toes)

Lanvin (Lon-VAUN)

Marchesa (Mar-kay-sa)

Monique Lhullier (Mo-neek LOO-lee-ay)

Moschino (Mo-ski-no)

Nicolas Ghesquiere (Ni-co-la Guess-ki-air)

Proenza Schouler (Pro-enza Skool-er)

Ralph Lauren (Ralph Lauren as in a persons name not as in Sophia Loren)

Rodarte (Ro-dar-tay)

Salvatore Ferragamo (Sal-va-TOH-reh Fair-a-GAH-moe)

Yves Saint Laurent (EVE Sane LOR-aunt)

Neiman Marcus wants to having you smelling pretty as you pronounce designer names correctly.

1 Lucky winner will receive a bottle of Givenchy (Jhee-VON-shee) Dahlia Noir eau de parfum.


First, if you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog. (You can subscribe VIA email at the top right of sidebar)

Then, leave a comment on this post between Sept. 18 and Sept.24th telling me what designer name you struggle with, or have struggled with in the past.

Good Luck and Thanks for reading!

Last week’s Lucky winner is WIG!  Congrats!


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  1. Couldn’t stop giggling reading this post! I’ve been lucky having French as a second language to help pronounce designers, but you can actually help me! There is a new up and comer designer that has made me fall in love with his clothes. His name is Anthony Vaccarello and he recently won the ANDAM award. He’s from Belgium, but I’m assuming his last name might be Italian? Would love to find out how to say his name correctly! Thanks Christie! xo

  2. I used to think Proenza Schouler was pronounced Proenza shoo-ler. Skool-er sounds wrong to me. I still mess it up sometimes.

  3. Hi, Christie! Once 9 yr old Nicholas, my nephew, asked Nana what skin cream she used. Flattered, she replied, “Oil of Olay” The next Thanksgiving, where the other set of grandparents were at the crowded dining table, Nicholas asked the same question of the other Grandma. Grandma answered, “Oil of Olay!” Nicholas shook his head… “Grandma, it’s not working.” Ooooo….embarrassed silence….red-faced Mommy escorts Nicholas from the table!

  4. Great post! My favorite designer mispronunciation is in the movie Showgirls when the heroine talks about her new dress from Ver-sace (rhymes with place). Love that scene, it never gets old.

  5. Back in the day I had a hard time saying Z Cavaricci!
    So, I just never tried to pronounce it! I would be safe and call them MC Hammer or parachute pants!! Lol how I loved the 80’s fashions!!

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