Monday, 14 January 2008

"What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet" - Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare

Buying a ticket for the latest Will Smith blockbuster "I Am Legend" got me thinking abput the power of a great title or name. Smith is someone who knows this all too well. All of his recent movies have punchy names that are are instantly captivating and emanate a certain gravitas. When you think 'Independence Day' images of overwhelming acts of patrotism spring to mind, 'Men In Black' - secret service and undercover security measures, I, Robot - advanced technology meets human being in some bizarre Blade Runner -esque twinning. So you see my point names can conjure up an idea in people's minds before anything concrete is presented. They're a perfect starting point. And it's the same for fashion. I was reading about US based sister design due Rodarte the other day and so love their clothes - very Grecian and sexy - but there is something about the name of the label that almost doesn't work. Mostly because they say Rodarte I think Rodent. Their only saving grace is that it does sound semi Italian and therefore retains an iota of sexiness.

A great label name is simple and usually made up of one or two syllables you can picture inflated into big brassy gold letters hanging at the top of a New York skyscraper. Gucci, Dior, Versace, Chloe, Balenciaga, Marchesa, and Chanel all make the cut.

Conversely a not so great name is something hum drum and a bit too ordinary. I must admit I'm not feeling the label name Tod's. They do some great bags and shoes but the name just lacks that cachet there's no drama to it.

But of course shakespeare was right. A Chanel blazer or Topshop dress by any other name would look as great it just wouldn't sound as cool.

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