Picture Perfect Names: Saffron Rose and Dashiell Ford

TBy Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Choosing a great baby name is a little bit like putting together a puzzle.

This week’s baby names in the news – and my, it was a busy week – all share a certain pattern.

Start with a recognizable, but not too popular, two-syllable name.

Add a middle, or even two.  Don’t fret about rhythm and flow, especially if you’re honoring a loved one or extolling a virtue.

Now calibrate.  If the first name is common, make sure the middle name is a real surprise.

If the first name is relatively underused, and you’re naming a girl, you can’t go wrong with Rose in the middle spot.  Just know that every Emma R., London R., Celia R., and Jazzlynn R. born in the early 2000s will share the same middle.  No worries, though – who doesn’t love Rose?

Nicknames are not required, though if you do intend to call your perfectly-named newborn by something other than his or her first name, it is a good idea to announce it immediately, before well-wishers order you jewelry bearing the formal name instead.

There you have it – with a few edits, this was the pattern followed by almost every headline-worthy birth announcement this week.

The good news?  They really are great names, striking a balance between the unexpected and the comfortably familiar.

LuLu – Australian celeb Holly Valance and her real estate mogul husband, Nick Candy have welcomed a daughter.  Luka Violet Toni will be known as LuLuToni honors grandpa Tony Candy.  No word on the inspiration for Luka or Violet, but here’s a guess.  Holly was born Holly Vukadinovic – she’s half-Serbian, and in Serbian, Luca is a feminine form of Luke.  So what looks like an attention-grabbing name might actually be rich with family ties.

Lula Ophelia – While we’re in Australia, here’s another birth announcement, this one courtesy of Waltzing More than Matilda. Filmmakers Allannah Zitserman and Stavros Kazantzidis welcomed daughter Lula Ophelia earlier this year, a little sister for Mila.  Could Lula be a successor to Emma and Ava, Lila and Lily?  She’s got a great kicky, retro sound.

Kane Ren – The only single-syllable name on this list comes to us from Real Housewives of Atlanta alum Kim Zolciak and her husband, the Atlanta Falcons’ Kroy Biermann.  Kane’s first name is firmly in the family tradition – all of Kim and Kroy’s kids together share the same first initial.  As for that middle, no, it isn’t after the leading man in Footloose.  According to Kim’s Instagram birth announcement, Ren honors the doctor who delivered five of her six children.

Kaia RoseKane Ren’s twin is a sister, Kaia RoseKim had two daughters when she met Kroy: Brielle and Ariana.  Kroy adopted the girls, and the couple have four children together: Kroy, Jr., known as KJ, Kash, Kane, and Kaia.  Shared initials aren’t for everyone, but I do like the way the three girls’ names go together: Brielle, Ariana, Kaia.  They sound like sisters. As for the middle name Rose, it honors the psychic Kim has long consulted, and even featured on her reality show.  Kane and Kaia were born on Rose’s birthday.

Saffron Rose – No Doubt’s Tony Kanal and wife Erin Lokitz also welcomed a Rose this week – Saffron Rose, a little sister for Coco Reese Lakshmi.  If there were a Grammy for best-named children, No Doubt would definitely earn a nomination.  There’s Tom Dumont’s three boys: Ace, Rio, and Koa, plus Adrian Young’s Mason and MagnoliaAdd in Coco and Saffron, plus Gwen Stefani’s Kingston, Zuma, and baby-on-the-way, and it is a creatively named bunch.  As for Saffron, remember when it was the trying-too-hard name for the sensible daughter on Britcom Absolutely Fabulous?  Now the colorful spice feels like a fashionable name to watch.

Autumn James – Actress Jennifer Love Hewitt announced two milestones this week.  She and actor-boyfriend Brian Hallisay tied the knot, and the couple welcomed daughter Autumn JamesAutumn has been a Top 100 pick since the 1990s, but James is a surprise as a girl’s middle name.  Or is it?  James and Jaymes have popped up on nearly as many high profile birth announcements as Rose in recent months.

Dashiell Ford – Actress Autumn Reeser and her director husband, Jesse Warren, have welcomed a second son.  Big brother is Finneus JamesDashiell is definitely a name on the rise.  Georgina Chapman and Harvery Weinstein announced the arrival of Dashiell Robert Max earlier this year.  As for Ford, I’d only heard it on cars and in fiction until Owen Wilson chose it for his son in 2011.  It makes a great, unexpected middle.

Liam Brave and Rocco Royal – Are you reading Design Mom’s Living with Kids series?  Go for the great interior design, stay for the equally inspired kids’ names.  Her most recent tour featured a family with four children: Ella, Luke, Liam Brave, and Rocco Royal.  (I’d love to know the two older kids’ middles, but she didn’t share.)  I love a daring middle, and Brave and Royal are two intriguing possibilities.

Princeton – Union J is a British X-Factor-formed boy band, featuring JJ, Jaymi, Josh, and George.  Now JJ Hamblett is the first to trade pop songs for lullabies.  He and model-girlfriend Catrina Lopez welcomed son Princeton J Alexander last week.  With names like Kingston and Preston in vogue in the US, Princeton has been on the rise, too.  Here’s guessing that it feels even more wearable in the UK, where it isn’t as closely associated with an Ivy League university.

Did you balance the popularity of your child’s first and middle names?  And what are your favorite two-syllable first names?  My list is too long to even begin to fit here …

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17 Responses to “Picture Perfect Names: Saffron Rose and Dashiell Ford”

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AprilRobin Says:

December 2nd, 2013 at 1:07 am

These are all really cute names. My favorites were Lula, Autumn, and Kaia for girls and for boys were Rocco, Liam, and Princeton.

jjayx Says:

December 2nd, 2013 at 2:05 am

As much as I love Luka, I prefer it for a boy and spelt Luca. Lulu as a nn is cute though. Love Kane, Liam and Rocco. As lovely as Autumn is, its beginning to feel a little predictable, with the likes of Ava ect. On the whole though, these are great names, it’s been a good week! 🙂

TaylorBlueSkye Says:

December 2nd, 2013 at 5:54 am

I feel like even here in Germany Princeton is way too tied to the American University.

I find it very interesting that Berry’s apparently aren’t bothered by filler middles like Rose. It just seems so boring to me (and yes it does compliment a lot of fn’s, but it’s just…no…not anymore….)

Also it’s funny to see how very anti most people are when it comes to names like Sutton for girl’s but Saffron is okay. That’s interesting to see as a non-American. Is it just the spice that makes the difference? Is it because spices are considered more feminine? Is it because that is kind of cute and people tend to like cutesy names on girls?

Erinm Says:

December 2nd, 2013 at 7:01 am

One of my favourite name combinations belongs to Lost actress Evangeline Lily. I know it’s technically her full name but still, it has a first/middle feel. Evangeline has so many nickname combinations too; Eva, Evan, Angel, Evie. Also, I’ve always liked the longer first name, shorter middle name sound

Mischa Says:

December 2nd, 2013 at 9:57 am

Lulu Candy is overkill on the “cutesy meter”. Saffron Rose is too heavy on the colour names (one colour name per combo is a rule I like to follow). Dashiell is well – dashing – but everyone pronounces it incorrectly as “dash-ul” (it’s da-SHEEL). Autumn is ok but the remaining names are forgettable. These celebrities are getting more and more obscure that I often wonder how influential they really are when it comes to baby names.

indiefendi Says:

December 2nd, 2013 at 11:12 am

Luka/Luca is still all-boy to me. It’s Luke!

Dashiell is the coolest boy name out. Love it!

Princeton is very WASPy, upper-crust sounding. Kingston sounds like a cool name and Princeton sounds more refined.

I do hope Lula gains in popularity. It’s so pretty!

Give it 10-15 years. James will inevitably join the girls. Then it’ll be Jonathan. Then William. Then Christopher. Then Joseph. Oh Lord.

Ysaline Says:

December 2nd, 2013 at 12:38 pm

I wouldn’t consider any of the names mentioned in this article to be ‘picture perfect’. I love Saffron but I agree that one colour per name is a good rule to follow. And Rose as a middle name is just way, way overdone at this point. Saffron Rosalie or Saffron
Caroline would approach ‘picture perfect’ much more in my opinion.

I like Autumn but Autumn James is just bleh. Yet another celebrity being ‘different’ by doing exactly the same thing all the other celebrities are doing. I don’t mind family surnames as middle names for girls, but if she chose James randomly I’d say she could have done better.

Abby Says:

December 2nd, 2013 at 1:53 pm

@TaylorBlueSky – Interesting that Princeton is so associated with the university even in Germany – thanks for your perspective.

@Mischa – I know what you mean – sometimes I’ll find myself reading a BA from a runner-up on a reality show competition and I’ll have the same thought. And, for example, Kane and Kaia are already trending upwards, so it will difficult to tease out the Zolciak-Biermann impact. And Autumn is already so popular … no way to sort that out, either.

Still, I think that any celebrity BA – no matter how obscure – gets enough mentions over time that it can potentially sway some parents. If we aren’t aware of a name, we can’t use it, so anything that increases mentions of a name can potentially impact its use.

@Erinm – Agreed on Evangeline Lilly! Love names like Lilly and Mary in the middle spot. Or even Hadley and Riley.

@jjayx – Yes, it *has* been a great week!

@indiefendi – William on a girl? Maybe … but did you read Anna’s post on Choosing Boy Names that Won’t Become Girl Names? I don’t think all hope is lost … http://waltzingmorethanmatilda.com/2013/12/01/choosing-boy-names-that-wont-become-girl-names/

tori101 Says:

December 2nd, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Interesting read!

My favourite names:-
Lula Ophelia
Saffron Rose
Autumn James
Dashiell Ford

: )

arabella77 Says:

December 2nd, 2013 at 6:45 pm

I love the end of this post where it discusses Princeton. I wish this name was more wearable in the U.S., but that isn’t the reason I love this segment. I am well acquainted with two little brothers who answer to Preston and Kingston, which I think is an adorable sibset.

KateMP91 Says:

December 2nd, 2013 at 8:06 pm

LOVE James on a girl. I also find Brave wonderful as a middle…it sounds almost classic when paired with Liam. While I love Luca on a girl (it’s in my top 10!), I really dislike the spelling Luka…

EmilyVA Says:

December 2nd, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Luca is not a feminine form of Luke!!!! In Italy where the name comes from it is all boy! It really makes me mad that nameberry can’t bother to respect other cultures!!!! I hope cultural enlightenment comes soon!

Shelskott Says:

December 2nd, 2013 at 10:20 pm

I used Rose for my oldest child’s middle name, but it was because it was my maternal grandmother’s maiden name and my sister’s middle. Now, a few years later, do I regret it? Yes and no. I certainly wish it wasn’t as trendy and overused. But at the end of the day, how often do we really use our middle names? I think it’s much more important that it’s meaningful to me and my family.

WaltzingMoreThanMatilda Says:

December 4th, 2013 at 9:22 pm

You might be right the Candys chose Luka for its Serbian roots – but they did actually want to just call the baby LuLu, and only picked a long form because they worried that LuLu Candy might not sound professional in later life. But there might be another reason they picked Luka instead of Louisa …. Holy was a pop singer, could the Luka be from the Suzanne Vega song, or singer Luka Bloom?

Lulu and Lula are both darling, and I like Dashiell Ford.

Princeton is right up there with Harvard and Yale, as a baby name. I couldn’t separate it from the educational institution. Even if I knew ten guys named Princeton!

happy Says:

January 15th, 2014 at 4:25 pm

@Erinm Evangeline Lily’s real first name is Nicole, and she was known as Nicole until her early twenties.

priviledgedpistachios Says:

September 16th, 2015 at 4:27 pm

@EmilyVA , I agree. Nameberry has a few of the Serbian names wrong, and I think we should include some blog writer (I’ve been trying a few things, but I’m not saying it should be me, even though I am up to it 😉 ) to focus a lot on these less known European names, because some of them are true gems and I think a lot of people would like them.

linda Says:

September 16th, 2015 at 7:07 pm

@priviledgedpistachios, We would really appreciate it if you could let us know about the errors you have spotted in the Serbian names, and we’d certainly be interested in a blog on lesser known European names, if you’re up for it. You can contact me at linda@nameberry.com.

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