The Choker: a necklace that has gone down in history

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The choker is a sexy necklace with a long history.  It started out as a flat ribbon that gave the impression of an elongated neck and emphasized the milky pale flesh of the woman that wore it.


It pops up in antiquity here and there across all civilizations, but it really took hold in the Georgian period it becomes a popular fashion style. Less affluent women would tie lanyard around their necks and hang from it to "dress up”.  This trend was revived during the French Revolution, when women wore a red ribbon around their necks in honor (as a nod)  of those who had lost their heads to the Guillotine,  or forming an X by crossing the neck and behind the back.


Later the choker became the symbolic calling card emblem of prostitutes. They preferred to wear them black, with no clasp, but tied with a bow as depicted in Manet’s Olympia (1863).



In the years that follow we find the choker  represented in  several of  Degas paintings such as "The Dance Class (1873/74). Although it was fashionable at the time, we are not sure if Degas used it to create the illusion of an elongated neck or if was meant to be a  an element of social critique denouncing the fact that many dancers came  from the less affluent social classes and were being exploited both physically and financially.


At the end of the XXIX century choker became a "royal trend" thanks to Alexandra, Princess of Wales, trendsetter.  Influenced by her numerous trips to India and the way in which women there adorned themselves with jewels, she also began to wear numerous strings of pearls and velvet.   It is rumored that she took advantage of this "trend”  to hide a scar on her neck.


In the 40s the choker became popular once again and since then the trend has evolved into a symbol of power, Women around the world decorated their velvet chokers with cameos, lace, pearls and diamonds. These luxury interpretations of the choker - who were often custom tailored to the neck - have led to its being renamed "Collier de chien" or "Dog's collar", because of the similarity with the canine accessory which was made popular thanks to an edition Life Magazine in 1944.


Since then, this neck adornment has gone through many different interpretations from minimalism in the 90s to punkin the XXX to today when it is once again on the cutting edge. This winter ( the last two seasons) chokers have taken over the runway with a combination of textures, materials and colors .

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