One word: collar. As seen in a multitude of styles throughout New York fashion week. Pointed (Victoria Beckham, Proenza Schouler and Marc by Marc Jacobs), Peter Pan (Ralph Lauren and Thom Browne) and decorative (chained at Tommy Hilfiger and jeweled at Oscar de la Renta). Having made a statement last A/W11 season, the return of collars for A/W12 reinforces their status as an essential wardrobe staple.
Originating in the 14th century, today’s shirt collars descend from the ruffle created by the drawstring at the neck of the medieval chemise. Now coming in over 50 different styles this integral part of a garment can totally alter the look of an outfit whilst also framing the face and accentuating strong facial features.
Always designing to compliment the female form – in the same way that she dresses – it is therefore unsurprising that Victoria Beckham has incoporated collars in her latest A/W12 collection. Appearing like sporty contrast polo collars atop striped dense rib jersey, she was originally inspired by her son Romeo’s baseball kit.
Proving that pointed collared shirts are also not just for the men (they make up 90% of men’s dress shirts), Marc Jacobs marched both sexes down his Marc by Marc Jacobs A/W12 runway in a variety of collared garments of different colours and fabrics, also adding an element of tailoring to the collection’s overall punk aesthetic. At Proenza Schouler pointed collars on oversized boxy shirts also gave an androgynous edge teamed with wide-legged, pleated trousers.
"Miuccia Prada offers advice: “It’s what I say all the time to my girls in the office here: the more they dress for sex, the less they will have love or sex… It’s all about masculine, feminine and being strong""
Whilst most trends are already old news by the following season, Peter Pan collars appear to still be having their moment. Featured most prominently in Louis Vuitton’s A/W11 overtly sexual Night Porter themed collection, for A/W12 they make a more austere return. At Ralph Lauren Peter Pan collared shirts gave a softer feel to the masculine tailoring of the collection; sitting over ties and under a variety of “boy-for-girl” suits – pinstripe, three-piece and hunting. At Thom Browne’s dark and deathly themed collection Peter Pan collars came under long, button-down coats and under thick layers of tweed and wool.
Making a further feature of the collar, Tommy Hilfiger and Oscar de la Renta showed that collars don’t have to be boring. In the former’s case affixing a chain between each collar and the latter hanging decorative jewels in between.
Whilst covering up the neckline, there is much to be said about less is more when it comes to revealing ones assets and this season buttoning up is key. A fan of conservative dressing Miuccia Prada offers advice: “It’s what I say all the time to my girls in the office here: the more they dress for sex, the less they will have love or sex… It’s all about masculine, feminine and being strong.”
Text by Lucia Davies
Margot Bowman is an illustrator, designer and DJ living in London. She is the Creative Director of The Estethetica Review, a fashion publication focusing on ethical fashion published biannually in conjunction with the British Fashion Council. Lucia Davies is junior editor at AnOther. She has also contributed to titles that include Dazed & Confused, The Independent, It's Nice That, Nowness, Twin Magazine and Wonderland.