Master designer brand names

Have you ever found yourself surrounded by fashionistas, all of which seem to wear self-confidence and mystique like a cloak. Only to open your mouth, attempt to pronounce a well-known fashion designers name, and be met with blank stares. You’re immediately hit with the sneaking suspicion that you pronounced the name wrong, but don’t want to say admit your mistake out loud. So, scared and embarrassed, you fumble on through the conversation, hoping that the need to say the name won’t arise a second time.

Later, however, as you lie awake staring at the ceiling, you will ask yourself again and again if you got the name right. Such a soul shattering faux-pas (that’s pronounced foh-pah) can land a person in therapy.

Never fear, we’re here to save the day. We’ve made a list of some of the most commonly mispronounced designer names, and added a little cheat on how to get the letters out your mouth in the correct way. Yes, you’re most welcome. Now you can save face, stand tall, and keep hanging out with those ardent fashions fundis.

Ann Demeulemeester

The mere sight of this name can turn one’s blood cold. But the notion of having to pronounce it is enough to send a person into a blind panic. Imagine having to announce this name at a fashion show, and having not practised in advance?

Ann Demeulemeester is mainly known for her brand making an annual appearance at the Paris Fashion Week. She is also one of the famed Antwerp Six in the fashion world. What that means, you’ll have to Google for yourself. We’re just here for pronunciation.

Pronounce it as follows: Ann De-mule-eh-meester. That last bit should rhyme with Easter.

Pierre Balmain

Pierre Balmain
Source: Ossia International Limited

A French fashion designer that made waves between 1914 and 1982, he was known for sophistication and eye-catching elegance. His legacy exists with the still popular Balmain fashion house.

Balmain is pronounced Bahl-mahhhhn. Let the ahhh sound carry with each h we’ve added.

Christian Lacroix

Sweetie, don’t feel bad if you’ve been getting this one wrong for years, because almost everyone has. Likewise a French fashion designer, who now has a fashion house named after him, Christian Lacroix is known for his often esoteric, abstract fashion designs. He’s also a favourite with the ladies from the hit TV sitcom, Absolutely Fabulous.

Christian Lacroix is pronounced; Christian Luh-kwa. Yes, the x didn’t have to be there at all. But that’s French for you.

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Dolce & Gabbana

Founded in 1985 by Italian designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, you probably know this renowned luxury designer. Most know how to pronounce the name, but mostly because they’ve heard it in a movie at some point.

For those who haven’t; Dol-chey and Gub-ana.

Gareth Pugh

This English fashion stalwart started his career as a costume designer for youth theatre. He has since, of course, gone from strength to strength; most recently making waves in the reality television show, The Fashion House. Don’t be embarrassed if you pronounced his surname with a grating sound in your throat, sounding vaguely German in the process. But remember, he’s English, not German.

It is in fact pronounced: Gareth Pew.

Gareth Pugh
Source: Pinterest


Back once again with the French, we have Hubert de Givenchy, a designer who once again named his fashion house after himself. The trick with his surname is that it’s difficult to even write the correct pronunciation.

The best that can be done is to say it is pronounced like this; zjee-von-shee, and say that zj represents that French g you might have heard at some point. It’s not a sh sound, it’s a zj sound. Got it? We’ll, there is always Google.

Maison Martin Margiela

Lastly; this is indeed another French fashion house, but was in fact founded by Belgian designer Martin Margiela. The name was recently changed to just Maison Margiela, and the reasons for this are, once again, something you will have to Google for yourself. As far as pronunciation goes, though, we are pleased they dropped the Martin, because the three word combo was unwieldy, to say the least.

It goes like this: May-sohn Mar-jhell-ah.

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