Fashion 101: Lesson in Designer Name Pronunciation

July 1, 2008

My name is Makeda Saggau-Sackey. It is a mouthful but I always try to teach people how to prounounce my name the right way. I have been called “Muh-kay-da,” “Ma-kada,” “Matilda,” “Me-kayla,” “Ma-keta” and many more. Most people don’t even attempt to pronounce my last name. For the record it’s Mak’da Sa-gow-Suh-key. Thank my father for the Ethiopian German-Ghanaian name. If I had a dollar for each time my name has been mispronounced, I would be a millionaire by now. I don’t take offense if a person makes the effort to learn how to pronounce my name. It’s a sign of respect because the person cares enough to know my name.

Another set of individuals with the most complicated names are designers and fashion labels. So many people mispronounced some of the most famous designers names but they neglect to really learn the pronunciation. Designers name sometimes get mispronounced in the media. Who’s fault is it to correct those that cannot pronounce Louis Vuitton or Versace or Proenza Schouler? The designers? Media? As a fashionista, I feel the need to teach all my readers the correct pronunciation of designer’s names. It’s not just for the sake of being polite, it also makes you seem smarter and a lot more sophisticated in higher social circles or when you are talking to others in the fashion industry. I have compiled a list with the help of some of my favorite bloggers and websites of some of the most commonly mispronounced designer names. After reading through this, I don’t want anyone pronouncing Ralph Lauren’s last name in the same alliteration as Sophia Lauren. It’s Lauren, like the girl’s name. So read on my darlings because it’s back to Fashion 101.


  1. Abaeté: Ah-bye-ah-tay
  2. Alejandro Ingelmo: Allay-handro In-gel-mo
  3. Andrew Gn: Andrew Jen (rhymes with “ten”)
  4. Andy Thê-Anh: An-dee Tay-Ann
  5. Anya Hindmarch: Ahn-ya Heind-march
  6. Arthur Mendonça: Ar-thur Men-doe-sa


  1. Badgley Mischka: Badge-lee Meesh-ka
  2. Balenciaga: Bah-len-see-AH-gah
  3. Bottega Veneta: Bo-tega Ven-e-ta
  4. Bulgari: Ball-gah-ree
  5. Burberry Prorsum: Bur-bur-ree Pror-some


  1. Cacharel: Cash-er-el
  2. Carolina Herrera: Caro-leena Hair-era
  3. Cesare Paciotti: Che-sah-ray Pah-cho-tee
  4. Chaiken: Chay-ken
  5. Chanel: Shuh-nel
  6. Christian Louboutin: Loo-boo-tin (“tin” rhymes with the French word “vin”)
  7. Christian Dior: Dee-yor
  8. Commes des Garcons: Comb day Garse-on, gentle ‘on’ sound on the end


  1. Dolce & Gabbana: Dole-chay
  2. Dries Van Noten: Drees Van Know-ten


  1. Ermenegildo Zegna: Er-men-a-geel-do Zen-ya
  2. Etro: Eh-tro


  1. Fendi: Fend-ee


  1. Gareth Pugh: Gareth Pew
  2. Giles Deacon: Jy-els Dee-kin
  3. Givenchy: Jhee-von-shee
  4. Giambattista Valli: Gee-ahm-battista Valley
  5. Gianfranco Ferre: Sj-yawn-franco Fair-ay
  6. Gucci: Goo-chee
  7. Guy Laroche: Ghee La-roash


  1. Haute couture: If you say ‘Hot Kew-ture’ or Kucher, you’ll want to change that to ‘oat ku tour’
  2. Hedi Slimane: Eddy Sli-mahn
  3. Hermès: Air-mez
  4. Hervé Léger: Air-vay Lay-jay
  5. Hussein Chalayan: Who-sane Sha-lion


  1. Issey Miyake: Eees-Ay Me-Yah-Kee not Is-he


  1. Jean Paul Gaultier: Sj-awn Paul Goat-ee-ay
  2. Joeffer Caoc: Joe-fur Kay-ock
  3. Junya Watanabe: Joon-ya Wah-tah-nah-bay


  1. Lacroix: La-kwah
  2. Lanvin: Lon-vin (“vin” also rhymes with the French word for “wine”)
  3. Loewe: Low-ev-ay
  4. Louis Vuitton: Loo-ee Voo-ee-ton
  5. Lucien Pellat-Finet: Lu-see-en Peh-lought Fin-ay


  1. Madame Gres: Madame Gray
  2. Marchesa: Mar-kay-sa
  3. Marithe Francois Girbaud: Jer-bo
  4. Mainbocher: Maynbo-shay
  5. Missoni: Miss-own-ee
  6. Moschino: Mo-ski-no
  7. Monique Lhullier: Mo-neek Loo-lee-ay


  1. Narciso Rodriguez: Nar-siss-so Ro-dree-gez
  2. Nicolas Ghesquière: Ni-co-la Guess-ki-air


  1. Olivier Theyskens: Oli-vier Tay-skins


  1. Pierre Cardin: Pee-air Car-dain
  2. Proenza Schouler: Pro-enza Skool-er not Schoo-ler


  1. Ralph Lauren: Ralph Lauren (as in Lauren the girl’s name, not Sophia Loren)
  2. Rei Kawakubo: Ray Kah-wah-koo-bo
  3. Rodarte: Ro-dart-tay


  1. 6267: Six-two-six-seven (not Sixty-two-sixty-seven)
  2. Sonia Rykiel: Sonia Ree-kee-eel
  3. Sophia Kokosalaki: So-fee-a Ko-ko-sah-lah-kee
  4. Swarovski: swore-off-ski


  1. Thakoon: Ta-koon
  2. Thierry Mugler: Tee-air-ree Moog-lay
  3. Tibi: Tbi (not Tee-bee)
  4. Tocca: Toe-ka


  1. Versace: Ver-saw-chee or Ver-sawch-eh with a soft ‘eh’ on the end NOT Vur-sace
  2. Vionnet: Vee-oh-nay


  1. Yves Saint Laurent: Eve-san-Laur-ahnt
  2. Yohji Yamamoto: Yo-jee Ya-ma-mo-to

image source

Thanks to the Chic Spy for this list of oh so important designers and their pronunciations. Check her out her blog for more inspirations as well.

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