Rick's List: Couture edition

Rick Koster offers weekly lists of ideas, notions and things that must be seen to be believed.

A few weeks ago I read a novel and it was important to the plot that the male characters' extremely expensive clothes be described in minute, name-dropping fashion. And it occurred to me: is it against the law to be a successful and hip clothing designer if you don't have a really exotic name? How come GQ and Esquire aren't flocking to write about clothes or perfume designed by someone called "Big Ol' Max"? In fact, I don't think any of these design people are actually born with those fancy names. They just make them up. In that spirit, here are some big shots in the industry followed by what I believe to be their actual birth names.

1. Yves Saint Laurent (born Scooter Boogins)

2. Pierre Cardin (born Elmo Skitch; high school nickmane: "El Gass-o")

3. Coco Chanel (born Kitty-Kay Phump)

4. Tommy Hilfiger (a counter-intuitive example who was born Jacques-Kristoff Merlot-Harrington)

5. Donatella Versace (born Donatella Versace but, wow, I'm not sure that plastic surgery was the best idea)

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