Case in point: an interview with Sarah Jessica Parker a few years back when talkshow host Anderson Cooper botched the pronunciation of signature shoe brand Manolo Blahnik (muh-no-low blah-nick, FYI). To the amusement of his audience, Sarah Jessica Parker patiently schooled him in the correct way of saying it. To help you avoid “doing a Cooper”, here are some commonly mispronounced (and misspelled) beauty and fashion words with their phonetic equivalents.
1. Yves St-Laurent (eve-san-lau-ron)
If this pronunciation gets you each time; I can relate! I was at a L’Oreal Luxe event at the beginning of the year for the launch of Yves Saint Laurent’s new fragrance Manifesto and trust me, there are few things quite as embarrassing in a beauty blogger’s world as not knowing how to pronounce a brand’s name at their own launch. So, say it with me: eve-san-lau-ron. It gets easier.
2. Kérastase (care-a-stass)
Parlez-vous hair care? Knowing how to pronounce this increasingly popular hair brand will stand you in good stead in hair salons around the world. Kérastase was established in France which gives it its tricky pronunciation for us English-speakers.
3. Bvlgari (bull-gar-ree)
Bvlgari is an Italian line of luxury goods, fragrances, and jewellery. You pronounce the “v” as a “u”, which misleads many. Although butchering a brand’s name doesn’t matter when you’re just reading the word online or in a magazine, it’s useful to know how to pronounce it correctly when it comes up in conversations with friends or when you’re chatting to a shop assistant at your local beauty retailer.
4. Louboutin (loo-boo-tahn)
Although few of us are in the position to own a pair, it’s helpful to know how to say the name of one of the world’s most coveted shoe brands: Louboutin. Following the phonetic guidelines above will help you get this word right without strategically slurring your words and hoping no one corrects you.
5. Givenchy (jzee-von-she)
This sneaky word is pronounced with the soft French “jzee” sound with the tip of your tongue slightly touching the sides of your palate as if saying “shh”. If you’re going to get just one thing right, however, let it be this: there is no “ch” sound in French. Instead, it’s a “sh” sound. So, first place in the mispronunciation awards has to go to Givenchy.