Some might credit the recent preponderance of giant collars, often seen bursting forth from the confines of a jaunty knit, to a winterized manifestation of white blouse mania. Others might attribute it to the vestiges of “prairiecore,” an aesthetic movement that has been known to favor its fair share of neck froth. Keen observers of Instagram “it” item cycles might nod in the direction of this top that Ganni has produced for multiple seasons now, perhaps thanks to the domino effect of this outfit worn by Pandora Sykes. And anyone who’s been paying attention to the latest fashion week runways will no doubt ascribe the uptick in large, layered collar momentum to noteworthy spottings at Chanel, Burberry, Erdem, Victoria Beckham, and Gucci.
I recognize the logic of all these possible origin stories, but at the same time, I wonder if we’re overlooking a number of venerated trendsetters who may or may not be responsible for this particular micro-explosion on the fashion scene. Below, please find a list of influencers I beg you to consider in your examination of the giant collar trend, along with a handful of collar + cardigan cocktail pairings to sip while you scroll.
Credit must be duly given to the rulers of the animal kingdom for not only wearing robust hair necklaces (see: manes) 24/7 but also for making them look extremely cool. Not every living creature could successfully pull off the aesthetic of what is essentially a permanent giant collar, but lions do so with enough aplomb that fashion has finally taken notice.
It doesn’t take more than a brief jaunt through Google images to understand why clowns have a reputation for being… creepy. However, the same jaunt also confirms they have undeniably influenced the trajectory of large ruffled collars into the stratosphere of fame they currently maintain. And look–not all clowns are creepy. This one, in addition to repping a truly incredible collar, seems trustworthy enough.
3. Individual chocolate truffles in paper cups
Few animals, minerals, or vegetables wear a collar more gallantly than a chocolate truffle dusted with cocoa powder, ensconced in a small, delicately crimped paper cup. When arranged inside a heart-shaped box, they maintain a certain degree of collective sweetness (literal and figurative), like a pew full of old-timey choir boys about to break into song.
If you told me this rendering of William Shakespeare was actually an outtake from a recent Gucci campaign, I wouldn’t bat an eyelash. The giant lace collar looks straight out of 2020. I know it remains popular opinion that Shakespeare’s greatest gift to society are his contributions to literature, but let’s keep an open mind. His contributions to collar mania may, in fact, have an even more stunning impact.
I challenge you to gaze upon illustrations of the iconic children’s book character Madeleine and not concede that she almost definitely had a hand in shaping the giant collar trend. Oh, I’m sorry, did you think the bolded text above was referring to Madeline Cohen, not an iconic children’s book character but iconic nonetheless? When it comes to ruffled statement collar influence, we’ll have to call a truce.
And there you have it: official accreditation for the most esteemed collar trendsetters throughout history–finally, their moment is nigh! If I missed any important patrons, please add them in the comments, where you can also feel free to sound off on this trend in general. Are you wearing it? Loving it? Already ready for something new? Can’t wait to chat.
Special thanks to The Center for Fiction.