Saturday, October 1, 2011

An Anthro Primer, Vol. 3

I knew it was time for another edition of the Anthro Primer posts, when I saw the name of the mysterious dress I'd purchased (rather impulsively) show up online a couple days later: "What is an 'osier'???" So, here we go friends, the third installment of the Anthro Primer. (For those who missed them, here are volumes 1 and 2):

1. Unconditional Osier Dress - osier refers to "any of various willows, whose pliable twigs are used for furniture and basketry," or "any of several American Dogwoods."1  I'm going to guess that the leaf-pattern of the lace on the dress is supposed to evoke the leaves of the willow or dogwood tree? Not sure what makes them unconditional though...thoughts?

2. Varvara Maxi Dress - So, the word "Varvara" is a variant of the name Barbara, and hence, there are all sort of interesting historical and contemporary figures to whom this dress may be referring to. There are also some locales named Varvara, mostly located in Europe (Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Finland, Bosnia, Russia, Republic of Macedonia). I'm going to guess that this dress references one of these locales, possibly the one located in Russia (I think they shot their September catalog there?).

Dame Nellie Melba
3. Melba Dress - We've all heard of melba toast and peach melba - but did you know that both of those items are named after a woman? An Australian soprano named Dame Nellie Melba (this was a stage name; she was born Helen Porter Mitchell), to be exact, who lived from 1861-1931. She was quite the star - practically an international household name during her lifetime (when she died, newspapers and billboards simply announced, "Melba Dead," and everyone knew to whom they were referring), but has diminished in fame since then, outside her native Australia, where she is noted as a historic figure and memorialized on the current Australian $100 note. And now, by Anthropologie shoppers everywhere, via a Leifsdottir dress.

4. Tangu Dress - "Tangu" is Swahili for "new beginning." It also refers to several culturally similar communities in the Bogia region of the Madang Province of Papua New Guinea. It's also a humanoid crow goblin creature from the Wang Kingdom, in the Epic Legends of the Heirarchs collectible card game (CCG). My bets are Anthro was referring to one of the first two meanings when naming this dress. What do you think? ^_-

5. Dalian Dress - At first I wondered if this was an allusion to Salvador Dali, the surrealist painter. But there really doesn't seem to be anything about this dress that evokes surrealist art. So, after a quick google search, I learned that there's a major seaport city in the Liaonning Province of northeastern China, called Dalian. The sleek column shape of the skirt (and I think there's a side slit in the skirt as well) might be referencing the cheongsam (a traditional Chinese dress for women).

6. Balkhash Shawl - Balkhash is the name of one of the largest lakes in Asia, and the 12th largest continental lake in the world. It's located in Kazakhstan, and I find it particularly interesting, because the western half of it is fresh water and the eastern half is salt water. Who knew that was even possible, in one body of water. You'd think it'd all eventually mix together and become a...well, diluted salt water lake. Apparently, the mineral make-up of the lake's two halves also impact the color of the water - on the western half, the fresh water is a cloudy yellow-gray and on the eastern half, the salt water is clearer, and blue to emerald blue in color.

Hypsometric tinting is used to indicate
elevation on this map of the Southern
Carpathian range, of which the Retezat
Mountains are a part.
7. Hypsometric Tint Cardi - Hypsometric tinting is the use of color on maps to denote changes in elevation. This cartographic convention was first introduced by Leonardo Da Vinci, but later popularized by the Scottish map company, John Bartholomew and Son, whose color usage became the standard we all know today: dark greens at low elevations which progresses to yellows, ochres, and browns as elevations get higher, and then to grays and white at the highest elevation.

8. Retezat Poncho - Retezat refers to the mountain range and national park bearing the same name in Romania. The Retezat mountains are part of the Southern Carpathians, or Transylvanian Alps, as they're also known. While they're smaller than the European Alps, they are classified as having an alpine landscape, and with their high peaks, are popular with both visitors and scientists. The highest peak in the Retezats is the Peleaga, which stands at 2,509 meters.

9. Chubu Caftan - The Chubu region of Japan is the central region of Honshu, Japan's main island. It stretches from the Pacific coast to the Sea of Japan coast, and contains the city of Nagoya as well as Mount Fuji.

10. Picholine Glimmer Tunic - The Picholine is a variety of French olive that is green and best known for its use in cocktails, though it's also used to make olive oil. It originated in Gard, in southern France, but is now grown all over the world. This top obviously gets its name due to its color.

So, there you have it: a round up of some of Anthro's more obscure item names from its current catalog.  Hope you enjoyed it and maybe even learned something (really, who is naming these things???).

Have a great weekend!


  1. Sara-You, Me and AnthropologieOctober 1, 2011 at 5:45 PM

    I read every single one of your posts and I honestly don't remember volumes 1 and 2! I love this idea and love finding out what all the different names mean. 

  2. This is cool. Wow, I certainly learned a lot! <3
    I lovelovelove wearing tunics. :D
    XoXo, Bree

    Tweet me: Viva_La_Breee

  3. Love these posts Carol - especially Dame Melba's reference - seems like just the dress she would wear.

  4. Yeah, I'm with Sara-- I don't remember seeing volumes 1 and 2.  These are so fascinating.  I only get the obvious ones, e.g. "Imelda sweater" and "Wright dress".

  5. I love these posts! Thank you!

  6. mmm...I loved the melba dress when I tried it on last week!  It does seem stylistically appropriate!

    I love these posts!

  7. This is probably my favorite post ever, as it appeals to my inner nerd.  Thanks for the information, ladies.  :)