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Category: French boys’ names

French Names: What’s chic now?

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Paging through the fat new issue of Vogue the other night, I found myself riveted not by the gorgeous models, not by the fabulous clothes, but by – mais oui – the names.

The French names, in particular, which seemed to jump out at me everywhere from the magazine, attached to chic grownup women as well as charming little girls and boys.

We’ve blogged about modern French names a couple of times, but the uninitiated still think of French names as the now-tired Danielle and Nicole, or the even-tireder Jean and Jacques.

But there’s a whole new group of French names coming up, along with a raft of classic French names never widely used among English speakers which sound fresh and chic right now.

While international names such as Hugo and Luna, Old Testament choices like Sarah and Noah, and even English names such as Emma and Tom may dominate the French baby name popularity list, authentically French choices are fashionable too, in Pittsburgh as well as Paris.

Here, French names that are chic for your own little fille or garcon.

Girls

Agathe
Amandine
Anais
Anouk
Apolline

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To check out the latest trends in French baby names, we turned to a true expert, Stéphanie Rapoport, creator of the popular site meilleursprénoms.com and author of L’Officiel des Prénoms 2010.  For anyone conversant in French, the site is filled with interesting lists, charts and analysis on French baby names.

And for those whose high school French is as shaky as mine, we asked Stéphanie to give us a recap, which she’s been kind enough to do:

Baby names in France have never been shorter: exit Sébastien, Alexandre, Frédéric, Caroline, Nathalie, Angélique—the popular names of the 1980’s.  Emma, Léa, Clara now take the limelight as the most popular feminine names, while Lucas, Enzo and Nathan dominate the masculine ranking tables.

As a result, diminutives such as Lou, Tom, Théo and Alex are doing wonders.  Few analysts would have predicted such a phenomenon in a culture which used to disdain diminutives as merely “half names.

Ending sounds are also shaping to a large extent what becomes trendy and what does not.  Fashionable feminine names tend to end in the vowel ‘a’ (Emma, Sara, Léa, Clara, Lola, Éva, Louna and Lina being in the forefront).  Then there’s the explosion caused by Lilou, a new name which has led to the discovery of Louane and renewed interest in hyphenated names such as Lou-Anne.  For boys, names with ‘eo’ vowel juxtapositions abound, as in Léo, Théo, Mathéo, also o-endings (Hugo, Enzo) and names ending in ‘an’—Nathan, Ethan, Kylian, Evan, Esteban.

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Parents in search of names emblematic of a new masculine image for their sons are also looking toward ethnic choices unknown in the U.S. just a few years ago.

The inspiration?  To some extent, it’s celebrities, from actors like Joaquin Phoenix to star dog trainer Cesar Millan to Heidi Klum’s son Johan, Jennifer Connelly’s Stellan, and Madonna’s Rocco.

And then there’s simply our widening global sensibility, taking in more and more images and cultural cues from around the world.  When it comes to boys’ names, these names may symbolize a more enlightened masculine image, or at least a fresh one.  Whether the name is Irish or Latino, African or French, we may see that exotic guy as being more stylish and more sophisticated and definitely more worldly than our regular old Bills and Jims.

Here, a selection of new ethnic choices for boys on the U.S. popularity list.  And don’t forget to take our poll on the new masculine names at the end of the column!

Amari
Andre
Andres
Axel
Braydon
Cesar
Connor
Cortez
Cruz
Declan
Enzo
Finn
Gianni
Giovanni
Hugo
Ivan
Jamari
Joaquin
Johan
Jonas
Kellen
Kieran
Killian
Liam
Luca
Malachi
Matteo
Mekhi
Milo
Omar
Orlando
Owen
Rafael
Raul
Rocco
Santiago
Santino
Soren
Stellan
Valentino
Xavier

 

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