Monday, 21 November 2016

The Return Of The Choker

After being abandoned in the late 90s, the choker trend has made a huge comeback in the past year, seen today on every other neck on the catwalk and invading the high street shop by shop.

From plastic to velvet to pearl to diamond, we take a look at the evolution of the choker and some of the beautifully-designed versions available on Barnebys.

From Then To Now


Women of the 1800's - Manet's Painting Olympia, Edgar Degas' Ballerinas, Alexandra Queen Of Denmark

In the 1800s, the choker was the necklace of choice for women from almost every kind of social group. The French painter Manet’s work, Olympia, focusing on a nude female figure with an empowered gaze wearing a ribbon around her neck, has been considered evidence of the choker being a symbol of prostitution. However, a mere ten years after Manet’s controversial painting, the impressionist artist Edgar Degas adorned his rehearsing ballerinas with the similar black chokers.

Further confusing our understanding of the choker’s meaning are the official royal photographs of Alexandra of Denmark, Queen consort to King Edward VII. Most surviving photos of Queen Alexandra show her wearing fantastically elaborate chokers embellished with precious metals and stones, suggesting that this may have been the fashion amongst royalty and aristocracy.

Marilyn Munroe in Gentleman Prefer Blondes, Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend and Moon Of Baroda
                 
The Golden Age of Hollywood and the rise of the glamorous starlets in the 50s and 60s saw the return of the choker to the fashion frontline. The chokers of this era took stylistic elements from both the simplistic ribbons and extravagant pieces of the previous century, as demonstrated by the selection worn by Marilyn Monroe in the classic film, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. In the iconic performance of Diamond’s Are a Girl’s Best Friend, Monroe’s iconic shocking pink dress was paired with an opulent diamond choker, whilst a stunning green and blue cluster of gems adorned her neck elsewhere in the film. The siren was also lent the Moon of Baroda - a 24 carat pear-shaped yellow diamond - for the film’s promotional campaign. 

Kate Moss

Yet another revival swapped the sparkling neckpieces of Hollywood for chunky black velvet and plastic ‘fake-tattoo’ chokers: grunge was in and glamour was out. During her early career, Kate Moss modelled a number of these heavy gothic pieces for John Galliano, evoking the 19th Century French fashion in the paintings of Manet and Degas – with the provocative new addition of the cross.
Kim Kardashian

Today’s chokers combine the trends of some 200 years of jewellery fashion - but, naturally, some new styles have emerged. Kim Kardashian has transformed herself into a walking mannequin for chokers, as she has been spotted wearing a different style at every other appearance. A small collection of diamond-encrusted chokers from the New-York based jeweller, Lorraine Schwartz, have been worn by the reality star and are rumoured to be worth an eye-watering $1 million each. Though it seems not everything in Kim’s jewellery collection is quite so pricey, with the socialite having been seen in a choker fashioned from cut-off denim, as well as a sleek white-and-gold piece.

Where to Buy

Whilst there is an array of material and plastic chokers available on the high-street, unique and elegant styles can be tricky to find.

Online jewellery auctions and dealers, such as those listed on Barnebys.co.uk , offer new and vintage chokers for that special occasion or to add a touch of glamour to your everyday outfit. Here are some of my favourites…

Diamond

(Left) Intricate diamond choker in platinum. Crafted in white gold with swirls of round brilliant diamonds pavé-set in an openwork setting accented by a plethora of bezel-set diamonds and bordered with lines of bezel-set diamonds.

(Right) White gold square patterned choker. Designed as three rows of square-shaped diamond-set links, embellished with circular-cut diamonds, and mounted in white gold. 


Gold
(Left) Gold chain necklace in 18 ct. Crafted in high polish yellow gold and designed with three rows of interlocking solid gold links. Adjustable to be worn either at a choker length right on the neck or at a longer standard length.

(Right) Diamond flower collar necklace. Yellow gold Carrera y Carrera collar necklace with diamond-set floral motif and lobster claw closure.

Pearl





(Left) Diamond and pearl Chantecler Capri choker of openwork and floral design, set with cultured pearls, alternating with col-let-set brilliant-cut diamonds and yellow-gold flowers.

(Right) Yellow and white gold scalloped collar necklace featuring round brilliant diamond embellishments with cultured south sea pearl accents and slide lock closure.

Barnebys is the largest search service for art, antiques and collectables, with around half a million unique items from over 1,600 auction houses and dealers around the world.


What do you think of the fashion for chokers?

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35 comments

  1. I like chokers. I only own one currently cos my fat neck LOL! I find some places make them so small so I have to extend them but I love the look xo

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    1. I think it can be quite a sexy look and I know what you mean about some places making them small but many can be extended and the cheaper ones can be stretchy.

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  2. For me the fear is in the name lol, I am not a big fan of chokers. I do like them on other people just not on me

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  3. It's amazing how different trends come back into fashion over time. I love the choker look and currently own a few x

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    1. The best trends do come back into fashion I agree.

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  4. I love chokers and think they look amazing when worn correctly, but I can not wear them x

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  5. I never knew chokers went so far back in time. I love all chokers but find being plus size they don't all suit me.

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  6. I love chokers! At the moment, I'm loving 90's style velvety ones. They're so gorgeous!

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    1. Those 90's style velvet ones are gorgeous.

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  7. I used to love my choker necklaces when I was a teenager. I had those weird stretchy elastic ones that got caught in your hair if you didn't put it on carefully. Great memories!

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  8. I used to wear one when I was about 14, so I love that they have made a comeback.

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    1. I bet this article takes you back then Dannii!

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  9. I do love a chocker and have a fair few in my collection x

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  10. I keep seeing some many pretty chokers at the moment, I am loving the ribbon ones that tie up in a bow. Thank you for sharing some of the history.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed reading about the history of chokers. Not many people realise they do go back in time.

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  11. I used to be obsessed with my chokers when I was younger, I think I probably had a variation of all different styles from velvet to leather, with things hanging off them or some sort of sparkle. I love that they have come back and own a good couple now xx

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  12. Not a fashion for me I have to say. I do think they look amazing on some people, I just hate things stuck around my neck x

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  13. I never used to like chokers but I have recently found myself leaning towards them. I have a nice rose gold and silver one!

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  14. This was such an interesting read - I remember those plastic black "lace" chokers from my teenage years and I loved them then. I want one!

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  15. Big fan of this trend making a comeback, I love them!

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  16. I've got to admit I quite like the chocker trend and have a few, but they're always black cord type ones x

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    1. You need someone special to buy you a diamond one :)

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  17. Ive always loved a choker! Used to wear one alot in my goth days as a teen haha

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  18. I love chokers especially because they can make any outfit look slightly edgy!

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  19. I adore chokers. I mean literally ADORE THEM. So happy the 90's revival brought them back!

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    1. Hope you enjoyed reading about the history of them Emma.

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  20. This is a really interesting post :) I had no idea that the choker trend came from the royals that is so cool! I love the choker trend and I have so many of them :)

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    1. I don't think many people realise that either.

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  21. I'm not sure how I feel about chokers making a comeback! I think the gold and silver, more simple ones look nice, but they wouldn't suit me!

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  22. Oh I love seeing how this tread has come back around - but it's still changed slightly each time. The only think that puts me off modern chokers is that they get stuck in my hair when pulling them over my head! I've much prefer the glamours Hollywood versions - I bet they had clasps!

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    1. I would think the Hollywood ones and those made of gold and silver have clasps.

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  23. I absolutely love chokers especially the metal and precious stone ones. If I had one like the intricate diamond choker in platinum, I would wear it everywhere!! Even in the bath - it is stunning xxx

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    1. Ha! Love your comment Tanya. Hopefully one day you will get a beautiful diamond one to wear in the bath :)

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