Women’s-wear retailer Anthropologie is launching a new “inclusively sized” (women’s 16 to 26) collection today. The collection’s name is clear, simple, and elegant: APlus.
Anthropologie’s last foray into fashion sub-branding was the misbegotten BHLDN, which I wrote about in 2011. I am happy to report that APlus is a vast improvement: The capital A evokes the parent brand, and the “plus” in this context is positive rather than pejorative. My favorite label for this category remains Alexander McCall Smith’s “traditionally sized,” but APlus gets a high grade from me, too.
(For more on the use of “plus” in retail – you may be interested to know that at one time in U.S. history the category was called “stout” – see my 2015 post “Plus Is Equal.”)
I found the Innisfree line of Korean skincare products in the wild, at the KPop Beauty Store in San Francisco’s Japantown. I immediately thought of the Yeats poem and assumed, rolling my eyes a little, that the name was another West-to-East borrowing chosen only for its pleasant sound in Korean. Not so!
I will arise and go now, and buy more Innisfree sheet masks, because they make my skin feel fantastic.
The company has given careful thought to the name and its associations with Korea. Here’s an excerpt from the “Our Name” section of the website:
Our name is inspired by ‘William Butler Yeats’
The Lake Isle of innisfree [sic] ,a lyrical poem that expresses a longing
to leave behind urban life for a beautiful peaceful island,
where you can enjoy the fruits of nature’s abundance. Just like Jeju.
Jeju Island is a unique oasis that offers a sensorial escape
from the fast-paced daily life and a rejuvenating moment to nurture healthy skin
in perfect harmony with nature.
Sure, I suppose they could have named the brand “Jeju,” but frankly, that would have been jejune.
By the way, while at KPop I also spotted a skincare line called Dr. Logy, which is a hilarious name, and not in a good way.
I discovered the Swanky ladle on the SFMOMA website, where the combination of name and design prompted an instant smile. A swan’s neck is such a perfect model for a soup ladle that I’m surprised I’ve never encountered something similar before. But making the ladle float? And calling it Swanky? Sublime.
The designer of Swanky raised $43,375 on Kickstarter to launch the product.
Swan and swanky share neither a vowel sound nor an etymology, but no matter: The visual pun works brilliantly. For the record, swan comes from Old English, and before that probably from a word that meant “to sing” (swans were believed to sing as they died, hence “swan song”). Swank is a 19th-century slang word meaning “ostentation,” and may be related to a word meaning “to swing.” (Read my 2012 post about swank and swanky.)