Bebe: What’s In a Name?
There are some misconceptions and questions about the label known as Bebe, starting with its name. While some may be prone to pronounce it with the usual European ‘e’ sound (bay-bay), that is not the true pronunciation. It should sound more like ‘bee-bee’. The word comes from the founder’s native Persia, and means ‘lady’. It also denotes the word ‘be’, a simple state of existence, said twice. Therefore, ‘bebe’ means to always move forward, to fully exist in every moment of time. This is why the word is never capitalized in the company’s official statements. This is the philosophy of bebe.
Bebe Stores and the Man Behind Them
Manny Mashouf was born in Iran (or Persia), but came to the United States when still a teenager, moving first to Chicago, then to San Francisco. He attended San Francisco State University to study political science, even getting a degree in the subject in 1966, but he was driven to enter another field – fashion.
The first Bebe store was established in 1976 in San Francisco. At that time, there were three major categories in women’s clothing: juniors, misses, and bridges. Bebe went with modernizing the women’s wear, creating contemporary clothing that would make some big changes in the fashion market. As time went on, this spawned a number of store fronts under the Bebe umbrella.
- BebeSport was launched in 2003 for women who live an active, sporting life. It comprised tops, outerwear, accessories, and various forms of sportswear. These stores became PH8 in 2009, when the sports line was moved into other Bebe stores.
- PH8 was the successor to BebeSport, first opening in 2009. Instead of sportswear, these stores tend toward casual clothing for weekends and workouts. Of course, they also sell the shoes and accessories to go with their outfits.
- 2b Bebe is the outlet division for all the clearance items and special outlet items available only from Bebe.
- The original Bebe Stores (or bebe stores) still exist, selling the mainstays of Bebe’s clothing lines.
In 2012, Bebe launched a new endeavor: bridal wear. While these are currently available only in select stores, there are full bridal salons in Bebe’s future. The first collection of bridal wear displayed came from none other than Rami Kashou, a runner-up on Project Runway.
Bebe’s line of fragrances is a new development, with its first debut in 2009. The first was called simply Bebe, with others to come in the following years. The original is an oriental scent, lush and luxurious. It opens with sweet and delicious notes of tuberose, mango, and sweet pea, into a heart of night-blossoming rose and black jasmine, and finishes with golden cedar, sandalwood, and musk. The heart-shaped bottles come with heart-shaped pendants.
Bebe Gold arrived in 2010, a lively fragrance with oriental and woody notes, with the crisp smell of autumn. Like that season, it has an air of glamour and mystery, both beautiful and romantic. It opens with pink pepper, juniper berries, and kumquat; the heart has exotic orchid and jasmine, while the base contains opoponax, sandalwood, and amber. As with other perfumes in the main Bebe line, the bottle is heart-shaped, with a small pendant attached.
Wishes and Dreams is a newer offering, launched in 2012. In this fragrance, Bebe has tried to capture youth and beauty in a battle. The result is a scent that is both playful and sexy, clean, bright, and sophisticated. It begins with a burst of coral freesia, bergamot, and French pear, opening into a floral heart of osmanthus, jasmine, and wild violet, with a trailing base of patchouli, musk, and exotic woods.
Always Moving Forward
Fragrances are just part of the Bebe plan to remain at the forefront of fashion. Such famous faces as Rebecca Romijn, Mischa Barton, and Eva Longoria have served as faces of Bebe’s ad campaigns. Their new work appears in Elle, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Vogue, and other great fashion magazines. Billboards and phone kiosks in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and New York all display the new things Bebe has to offer.
Today, there are more than 300 stores with the Bebe name, not only in the United States, where the brand was born, but in Canada, Egypt, Israel, Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia, Turkey, Thailand, and a number of other countries around the world.
Bebe continues to break new ground, offering both the accessible and sophisticated. To Manny Mashouf, who still runs the company, there is no single type Bebe girl or woman. It is his desire to bring out the beauty ever woman has inside of her. Many believe he has found amazing success.