It was a week for gorgeously named girls. Four sets of celebrity parents got it just exactly right with their new arrivals.
Of course, it was also a week for wailing and gnashing of teeth. A friend of mine, the mother of an eight-month Penelope, is still fuming. It is one thing when Tina Fey’s daughter shares your daughter’s name. It is something a little different when the Kardashians add it to their family tree. We all knew Penelope was catching on, but much discussion ensued about whether she would still be wearable. My guess? Yes, she will be, and yes, she’s headed straight for the US Top 100.
The names that had us talking weren’t outlandish. In fact, many of them have made this column previously, with other celebrity parents using them.
The nine most newsworthy baby names from last week were:
Penelope – Is she the next Olivia, a name that feels vintage and quirky, but is actually more popular in the twenty-first century than the nineteenth? Penelope was the faithful wife of Odysseus. Since then there’s been Penelope Pitstop, Penelope Cruz, and Christina Ricci’s pig-snouted heroine in the 2006’s modern fairytale, Penelope. Since Scott and Kourtney helped push Mason into the #2 spot in the US, it is easy to imagine their daughter’s name catching on, too.
Scotland – But what about the littlest Kardashian’s middle name? Just like Mason Dash is a nod to mom, Penelope Scotland seems to be a way to honor dad. Whether you’re a fan of place names or not, you have to admit that this was rather clever. There’s just no good feminine form of Scott, though Scottie and Scottlyn, choose your spelling, have been seen. If Penelope is the new Olivia, could Scotland be the next Brooklyn?
Faith – Kelsey Grammer has welcomed a fourth daughter, his first with wife Kayte. Her first name appears to be a nod to the couple’s difficult journey to parenthood, but Faith is lovely enough to choose without any specific motivation. Grammer is also father to daughters Spencer Karen, Kandace, Mason Olivia, and son Jude Gordon.
Evangeline – Little Miss Grammer’s full name is Faith Evangeline Elisa, a surprisingly lush and romantic appellation after gender-bending choices like Mason and Spencer. File Evangeline with Penelope – an elaborate name that feels like a sepia-toned throwback, but is actually on track to be at her most popular this century.
Michaela – Speaking of popularity, did you read the reports from Ireland? Emily and Jack are the top names for 2011 – nothing shocking there. But did you notice that Michaela is the fastest climbing name for girls? I’ve always thought that the feminine form of Michael deserved wider use. She hovered just outside the US Top 100 in the 1990s as Makayla, Mikayla and other re-spellings caught on. As the McKayla/Makenzee/M’Kenna trend fades, will the classic Michaela have another chance in the US?
Marlowe – Sienna Miller is a new mom, and the name she and Tom Sturridge chose for their daughter is at the height of style. Miller opted for the most elaborate spelling possible of Marlowe, just like fellow actor Jason Schwartzman. Blogger extraordinare Heather Armstrong has a daughter called Marlo Iris. Could Marlowe follow Harper and Madison up the popularity charts? It’s a sleek, modern choice with plenty of potential.
Ottoline – If Marlowe is sleek and modern, Ottoline is a deliciously rich vintage pick, suited for a nineteenth century British aristocrat. Many of the feminine forms of Otto have gained some attention recently, with Ottilie the most frequently heard. Combined, Marlowe Ottoline makes for an unexpected and stylish combination.
Charlotte Sofia – Jennifer Aspen – she plays Sharon on GCB – has welcomed a daughter called Charlotte Sofia. I love seeing more elaborate names in the middle spot. Even though both choices are very popular right now, together it makes for a pleasing name.
Lorenzo – After eight lovely names for girls, let’s end with one for the boys. Nicole Polizzi, better known as Snooki from The Jersey Shore has settled on a name for her son, due later this year. Call me crazy, but I’m wild about Lorenzo. It feels like a great Italian heritage choice, with a nod to the Renaissance statesman Lorenzo de Medici, known as the patron of Michelangelo and da Vinci – a thoughtful choice for a reality star.