If the Shoe Name Fits…

By Nancy Friedman

N.B. Our friend Nancy Friedman, the Manolo’s favorite wordworker, delivers to us the witty and smarty post on the topic of the shoe names.

Meet Caryn, who recently took up residence in my closet.

Caryn from Corso Como
Corso Como Caryn at 6pm.com
.

My Caryn is brown suede, from Nordstrom Rack.

I know she’s called Caryn because the sticker on the sole told me so. I can’t tell you who named her or whether her name has a private meaning for that person. But I can tell you that “Caryn” has very specific significance for Corso Como, the manufacturer.

Now, I’m a professional name developer—companies, products, book titles—so I’m a little more obsessed with shoe names than the average stiletto-holic. (Disclaimer: One of my clients, Arthur Beren Shoes, sells some of the styles I’ll be talking about here.)

But anyone who loves shoes should take an interest in shoe names. Why? Because some designers name their shoes according to a not-so-secret code, and deciphering it will help you be a smarter shopper.

Take Salvatore Ferragamo, the Italian brand you may know for its extensive size range and associations with old-school Hollywood glamour. What you may not know is that all the styles created for a season have names that begin with the same letter.

Spring 2011, for example, is brought to you by the letter D.

Ferragamo Domizia

Ferragamo Domizia

Ferragamo Dulcinea

Ferragamo Dulcinea

Ferragamo Darleen


Ferragamo Darleen

With Ferragamo, if a shoe doesn’t have a letter-of-the-season name, you know it’s either (a) a perennial, like the ever-popular Audrey (named for Audrey Hepburn), or (b) an item from a previous season that may have a discounted price.

The other major code-name strategy is structural. With this approach, the style name is coded to identify its last—the shoe-shaped wooden block around which a shoe is built.

Fly London, which calls itself “the footwear of universal youth culture,” names its shoes this way. When you see a Fly London shoe style whose name begins with “G,” you know it has a cork wedge platform that rises to 3¼ inches, with a nubby rubber outsole on the bottom.

Fly London Gilda Wedge

Fly London Gilda

Fly London Gaia Wedge

Fly London Gaia

Similarly, all the Fly London “L” shoes –Lark, London, Lotto, et al.—have low, spool-shaped, leather-wrapped 1½-inch heels.

Fly London Laff

Fly London Laff

Fly London Lil

Fly London Lil

My Caryn was named this way, but Corso Como takes the formula one step further, using the first two letters of the name as the code. Caryn is a peep-toe shoe-bootie with a 2 ½-inch heel and a zipper, just like its first-initial-C littermates Casey and Cambridge. But Corso Como shoes that begin with Ch, such as Christian or Chorus, have 4-inch heels and thick rubber platforms. Dozer andDoze have 4-inch espadrille wedge soles with 1-inch platforms, while Daile and Dalt have 4-inch slender stacked heels and 1-inch platforms. (I admit I don’t know what to make of Carro, which should resemble Casey, Caryn, and Cambridge but instead is a lace-up oxford with a 2 ¼-inch heel. I just wish it were available in my size.)

For those of us who like our shoes to embody order and reason along with comfort and elegance, these shoe-naming formulas are oddly comforting. Ah, but not all shoe designers are logical creatures. For them, shoe-naming is a flight of fancy, whimsy, or even Teh Crazy. More about those names in a future post.

0







8 Responses to “If the Shoe Name Fits…”




  1. Snowpea Says:

    Fascinating and informative post. Thanks!




  2. Glinda Says:

    Totally enlightening!




  3. erik nabler Says:

    Methinks the essence of this should be a Wikipedia page.




  4. Anna @ShoeHunting Says:

    Fascinating for a word geek and shoe lover such as myself! Definitely Wikipedia material.




  5. Fritinancy Says:

    Thank you, dear readers! I’m happy to provide a peek into an overlooked corner of the shoe business.




  6. Andyshoes Says:

    Wonderful post!

    Can’t wait to see what you have to say abour Fluevog’s choice of names.




  7. Fritinancy Says:

    @Andyshoes: I wrote about Fluevog’s “Miracles” shoes on my own blog several months ago: http://nancyfriedman.typepad.com/away_with_words/2010/10/heavenly-soles.html




  8. The Accidental Tangoiste Says:

    Goodness, I had no idea! This was fascinating!













Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik
Copyright © 2004-2009; Manolo the Shoeblogger, All Rights Reserved


Manolo Blahnik Says
"Manolo the Shoeblogger?
Sorry, not me. But it’s very
funny, isn’t it? Hilarious!”


Manolo Recommends






Free Overnight Shipping at Endless.com



Shop Shoes.com

NORDSTROM.com - Shop Boots Under $100

Saks Fifth Avenue



Net-a-Porter US

YOOX.COM




"The King of the Fashion Blogosphere" ~ Linda Grant


Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Mr. Manolo Blahnik. This website is not affiliated in any way with Mr. Manolo Blahnik, any products bearing the federally registered trademarks MANOlO®, BlAHNIK® or MANOlO BlAHNIK®, or any licensee of said federally registered trademarks. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the author.






Follow the Manolo on TwitterBefriend the Manolo on Facebook!








Categories

  • Abel Munoz
  • Alber Elbaz
  • Alexander McQueen
  • Anne Klein
  • Aquatalia
  • Ask Miss Plumcake
  • Ayyyyy!
  • Bad Fashion
  • Balenciaga
  • Bargains
  • Be Super Fantastic
  • Bernardo
  • Betsey Johnson
  • Beverly Feldman
  • Bloch London
  • Books
  • Boots
  • Botkier
  • Brian Atwood
  • Bruno Magli
  • Build the Outfit
  • Burberry
  • Camper
  • Carmen Steffens
  • Carnivale of Couture
  • Carolina Herrera
  • Celebrity
  • Chanel
  • Christian Dior
  • Christian Louboutin
  • Cinema
  • Clothing
  • Coach
  • Cojo
  • Cole Haan
  • Consolation of the Shoes
  • Crocs
  • Culture
  • Cynthia Rowley
  • Delman
  • Diane von Furstenberg
  • Doings of Manolo!
  • Dolce & Gabbana
  • Dolce & Gabbana
  • Donald J. Pliner
  • Donna Karan
  • Due Farina
  • El Dantes
  • Elie Tahari
  • Fab Four
  • Fashion
  • Fashion Designers
  • Fashion History
  • Fit Notes
  • Flats
  • FN Shoe Star
  • Forums
  • Franco Sarto
  • Frye
  • Giambattista Valli
  • Giorgio Armani
  • Giuseppe Zanotti
  • Gucci
  • Handbags
  • Hasselhoff!
  • Horrors
  • How To
  • Is It a Shoe?
  • Isaac Mizrahi
  • Jerome C. Rousseau
  • Jewlery
  • Jil Sander
  • Jimmy Choo
  • John Galliano
  • Jonathan Kelsey
  • JP Tod's
  • Kate Spade
  • Kenneth Cole
  • La Canadienne
  • Liam Fahy
  • Lin Yu Chun
  • Loeffler Randall
  • Louis Vuitton
  • Malene Birger
  • Manolo Blahnik
  • Manolo's Internet Friends
  • Marc Jacobs
  • Media
  • Men's Shoes
  • Michael Kors
  • Miss Plumcake
  • Missoni
  • Miu Miu
  • Miuccia Prada
  • Moschino
  • Music
  • Nicolas Ghesquiere
  • Nicole Brundage
  • Nicole Miller
  • Oscar de la Renta
  • Pedro Garcia
  • Platforms
  • Pour La Victoire
  • Prada
  • Project Runway
  • Pucci
  • Pumps/Court Shoes
  • Pure Evil
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Rebecca Taylor
  • Reed Krakoff
  • Rene Caovilla
  • Robert Clergerie
  • Roberto Cavalli
  • Roger Vivier
  • Rupert Sanderson
  • Salvatore Ferragamo
  • Sandals
  • Sergio Rossi
  • Shoe Personalities
  • Shoemaker Saturday
  • Shoes
  • Sigerson Morrison
  • Sneakers
  • Stella McCartney
  • Stuart Weitzman
  • Tabitha Stevens
  • Taryn Rose
  • Television
  • Thakoon
  • The Manolosphere
  • Tory Burch
  • Trends
  • Ugg
  • Uncategorized
  • Valentino
  • Vera Wang
  • Versace
  • Via Spiga
  • Wedges
  • What the Manolo Is…
  • Whose Shoes Wednesday
  • Will's Fancy
  • Yves Saint Laurent
  • Zac Posen