Present throughout history and in various cultures across the globe, chokers have always carried a powerful message. Their symbolism and message undergoing a rapid transformation throughout the centuries from being symbol of political oppression to a societal status identifier to finally a fashion ornament.
We want to share with you a glimpse of how choker became the desired and fashionable jewelry piece that it is today.
Starting with the iconic ANNE BOLEYN in 1507, undoubtedly the most fashionable and influential woman of her period. Anne Boleyn and her undeniable passion for fashion was very much inspired by her time spent in the courts of France and she introduced many trends in the conservative English society, the choker being one of them.
Portrait of Anne Boleyn and her Iconic custom choker necklace. Made with pearls and a Charm of Her Last name initial letter “B’.
Fast forwarding to 1798 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION.
A tumultuous period marked by political oppression and revolt against the French monarchy and chokers were undoubtedly one of the most powerful and poignant symbols used by the French women to express their hatred towards the monarchs and nobility.
The women began wearing a political dress with red ribbons around their necks as a tribute and homage to all those who were slaughtered at the guillotine.
In 1860’s chokers were a representation of societal status, related with prostitutes as depicted in Manet's famous painting, "Olympia," (1863) a prostitute wearing a black ribbon around her neck. During this era, a ribbon around the neck could mean a woman was a prostitute.
Late 1800s: Upscale chokers become markers of the elite. Despite being symbols of prostitution in some parts of Europe, in England they had a great deal of popularity especially during the Victorian Era. Being a common accessory amongst the royalty women of the time, as well as seen in ballerina’s costumes. It was also a common for women of the time to wear chokers to hide scars around the neck.
Princess Alexandra of Whales had such a scar and had a strong influence on the fashion trends of her time, and the trends she set including her love for chokers went on for over 50 years or more after her death, turning it into a raging trend amongst the women of court and nobility. The woman would flaunt chokers adorned with pearls, crystals and jewels to create fashion statements
In the 1920’s and 1940’s chokers had a strong comeback, crafted of ribbons, beads, crystal, pearls and a mix of various materials types including velvet and even diamonds they gained a new popularity by being called DOG COLLARS, as it’s French variation colliers de chien as they were known in Paris, and It quickly became a symbol of elite glamour.
In 1944 Life Magazine featured an article aimed at the revived trend and its strong presence now in American culture.
In 1970’s the hippie culture and musical revolution movement brought chokers back into the fashion scene. This time being a unisex accessory worn by both men and women. Iconic hippies and rock stars Mick Jagger, Jimi Hendrix wear it on various occasions, especially those with studs, colored beads in suede or feathers.
1990’s were undeniably the raging POP culture years, and pinnacle of all things fashion including of course chokers. We saw it on the stage and the red carpet, being flaunted by our favorite stars of the time.
In the late 1990’s chokers underwent a gothic transformation gaining spikes, heavy metal chains and being a popular accessory in the punk rock and EMO scene, and let’s not forget the over popular tattoo choker, made of a very thin stretchy material.
In 2015 chokers made once again a strong comeback, taking center stage on runaways around the world and becoming a coveted accessory, making its way into red carpet awards and fashion magazine spreads everywhere.
You can spot a sophisticated e ever evolving version of it being debuted by today's hottest celebrities.
Chokers are now available in a wide variety of materials, colors shapes and forms. It's a powerful ornament with a history of over half a millennia to support this iconic trend. We believe it is clear; chokers are here to stay, they might go away for a bit but just to comeback stronger than ever.