Read (strange concept, right?) through any fashion magazine, and you’re likely to stumble upon more than a couple of foreign names in between the lines. Us Americans have already fit some of them into our brand vocabulary–namely Louis Vuitton or Chanel. But those in the business of fashion, or who vigorously keep up with it are, I think, at a cultural advantage.
There’s Alber Elbaz from Morocco/Israel, Frida Giannini of Italy, and Ann Demeulemeester from Belgium. These are just some of the international names on the roster of increasingly popular fashion houses. A couple other notables are Brits Mary Katrantzou from Greece and Erdem Moralioglu who is of Turkish descent.
But what’s in a name? Plenty! Every name evokes a sense of history and geography: A subject that Americans have a sub-par knowledge of. The last name only gives us a hint to the paternal heritage, while a facial feature such as the eyes or a nose can uncover the mysteries that lie behind mother’s origins. These backgrounds hold captivating stories, that not only enrich our lives, but enable us to foresee the future. Remember the adage “history repeats itself?”
And the language is another thing altogether. Although the French aren’t renowned for their bravery during combat, they’ve certainly infiltrated the fashion vocabulary. Try opening an issue of Vogue magazine without encountering the words de rigueur, passé, and chic. These are all common terms a regular joe schmo most likely has encountered in everyday life.
All this talk may make us more worldly, but let’s try to use it to avoid another attempt at chasing the elusive ideal of the enviable European woman. Us Americans ain’t so bad!