“This is a woman who lives in America but is obsessed with the European lifestyle,” says Ehrlich. “When you see women in Paris, whether they’re 17 or 85, they’re put together.” But there was just too much association with the movie, so Ehrlich and Stanley settled on the even more prim-sounding Miss Davenporte. “We wanted a name that exuded the cocktail era,” Ehrlich says, “and would make buyers think of times past.”
Trust that jeweler Susan Domelsmith wasn’t mining the same elegant turf with Dirty Librarian Chains, her line of reworked vintage necklaces. Rather, the name sprang from the lustful way some besotted dude described her to a mutual friend. “I had glasses, and I was always wearing my hair up in a bun. And this guy started calling me ‘the dirty librarian’ behind my back,” Domelsmith recalls. “I think he had a crush on me. Anyway, I just thought that was hilarious.” Apparently it’s a joke with legs: Not only is every piece named after a library term, but each box is stamped and filled with recycled encyclopedia pages.
While she stocks her share of obscurely named brands—Goat and Tree among them—Louis Boston owner Debi Greenberg says she’s neither for nor against nutty names. “I’m just looking at the clothes,” she says. “And I don’t think the customer cares as long as she picks an item off the rack, tries it on and likes it.”
But as Revolve Clothing’s Mente points out, there are some powerful incentives for staying the weird-moniker course. “Some of the biggest companies of the last 10 years have kind of funky names,” he notes. “Like Yahoo. And Google.”