By Linda Rosenkrantz for Nameberry.com.
Want to give your baby a name that truly telegraphs a sense of style? One way is by going directly to the world of high fashion: representing several different cultures, the names of many 20th/21st century fashion design icons prove to be exceptionally distinctive, diverse, creative and inspirational. Here are the Nameberry picks for best designer baby names:
Born Gabrielle in 1883, but known to the world as <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Coco" target="_hplink">Coco</a>, Chanel was the iconic <em>grande dame</em> of high fashion, inventing the little black dress, the tweed suit and the quilted handbag, blending elegance with comfort and simplicity. <strong>Coco</strong> is one of the lively repeated-syllable nickname names that have started to catch on, especially since it was chosen by Courney Cox and David Arquette in 2004.
This Spanish fashion visionary, who was born in a Basque fishing village in 1895 and died in 1972, revolutionized haute couture with his clean, sculptural lines and many influential innovations. <strong>Cristóbal</strong>, the Spanish form of Christopher, is well used in its native culture and could make an appealing import, conceivably even for a girl. Christopher Columbus's name in Spanish is actually Cristóbal Colón. (AP)
Although he has come to be associated with the less than electrifying color-coordinated outfits worn by Queen Elizabeth, Hardy Amies' creations graced the covers of <em>Vogue</em> in the 1940s, and Stanley Kubrick chose him to design the costumes for the futuristic <em>2001: A Space Odyssey</em>. <strong>Hardy</strong> is one of the few <em>har</em>-starting names that hasn't been revived, but it's recommended because it's so, well, hardy.
Born in Milan, Prada is the third generation to lead her family's self-named fashion business, where she has produced a great variety of styles, from cool minimalism to nostalgic vintage looks -- not to mention coveted accessories. The Italian name <strong>Miuccia</strong> wouldn't be the easiest for an American girl to bear -- but you could consider her birth name Maria or nickname Miu Miu.
<strong>Ottavio</strong> and his wife Rosita Missoni's surname is almost synonymous with the word knits, having transformed a grandmotherly activity into a high-fashion art form alive with zigzag shapes and bright colors. Ottavio, the Italian form of the Latin Octavius, is the most seductive of all the names related to the number eight. Sig. Missoni's nickname is Tai.
This Italian-born designer is famous for trend-defying, dramatic gowns that wrap the wearer in opulent luxury. He works with a striking palette of black, white and "rosso Valentino" red. <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Valentino" target="_hplink"><strong>Valentino</strong></a> is one of the dashing and romantic Italian names being newly embraced by Americans; Ricky Martin chose it for one of his twin boys.
Born Francisco Rabaneda Cuervo in San Sebastion, Spain, the designer known as Paco Rabanne experimented with materials like Plexiglass and metal, and was famous for designing Jane Fonda's costumes in <em>Barbarella</em>. <strong>Paco</strong> is the traditional pet name for Francisco, but is perfectly able to stand on its own.
The Japanese woman who founded the couture house Comme des Garcons creates bold, novel, iconoclastic forms, rebelling against conventional standards of female beauty -- an extreme example of '80s style. <strong>Rei</strong>, pronounced reh-ee, is a Japanese unisex name with the pleasant meaning of thanks and appreciation. <em>Pictured: Dover Street Market in London, a multilevel store conceptualised by Rei Kawakubo.</em>
Tunisian-born, Paris-based Alaia has been called the "King of Cling," working in lycra, latex and leather, as well as more conventional fabrics. His devotees range from Madonna and Lady Gaga to Michelle Obama. <strong>Azzedine</strong> is an Arabic name almost unheard of in the US; we can see it more for a girl than a boy, and we really like the zip of the double z's.
A key figure in the Swinging London scene, known almost as much for her green/blue/pink/orange/whatever hair and eccentric makeup as for her punk and other colorful garments featuring zigzag seams and safety pins. Like Zadie for Sadie, <strong>Zandra</strong> takes a middle-aged grandma name and gives it some zip.
A top Japanese designer known by his first name, the daring <strong>Kenzo</strong> combines colors, patterns and style elements from various cultures, with such startling results as tweed kimonos and checkered sarongs. A well-used name in Japan, Kenzo was used for their son by celebrity couple <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Kimora" target="_hplink">Kimora</a> <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Lee" target="_hplink">Lee</a> Simmons and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Djimon" target="_hplink">Djimon</a> Hounsou, a choice inspired by the designer.
This totally original French designer presents stylized superwoman images featuring sharp, broad-shouldered silhouettes, giving him the epithet translated from the French as "creator of shock." The name <strong>Thierry</strong>, which is megapopular in France, is pronounced much like Terry, but with a slight twist: tyeh-REE.