It started with the re-emergence of stretchy, black, tattoo-like chokers that some of us may remember from teenaged years; moved on to the craze of scarves tightly tied around the neck; and has now reached a climax: the thick ribbon. Over the past year, the choker has had highs and lows, but remains firmly in fashion this season. While early renditions veered slightly into the realm of punk, the trend has come into its own, with more mature, simplified versions currently in stores. The latest designs are basically thick ribbons, which are tied (or clasped) around one’s neck, seemingly strangling you, which causes me to question: why?
When there’s an aspect of design or element of embellishment to a choker necklace, there seems to be a purpose to it. But this new, decapitating style statement mostly looks absurd, and raises questions about why we follow trends. Naturally, wearing a thick-ribbon choker can make your neck vanish, and make your upper proportions look all wrong. If you have a short neck to begin with, don’t even bother trying this trend – you will live to regret it as soon as you have a look in the mirror, or worse, see the proof on Instagram.
So, then, how did this style come about? Is Leandra Medine, of the popular blog Man Repeller, to blame? She's frequently spotted with a colourful paisley-printed bandanna tied around her neck. Or perhaps it was imported straight from the spring/summer runways, where brands such as Christian Dior, Lanvin and Etro incorporated chokers in their collections. Who knows how the choker craze re-emerged, but regardless of where it stems from, it's clear that the style has roped its way around the necks of regional fashion designers too, as seen at Dubai’s recent Fashion Forward weekend.
Locally based brands such as Bedouin, Kage and Dee by Dalia styled their models with choker necklaces for their autumn/winter presentations at the new D3 space. Bedouin's designer Andraya Farrag’s black and metallic dresses featured asymmetrical elements and panels, topped off with thick black ties around their necks. I know I just wrote about doubting the appeal of this type of look, but at Bedouin, it actually worked, probably because Farrag was smart with the styling. She took care to only pair the chokers with dresses that featured wide or deep necklines – as a result, the outfits looked enviably edgy.
At Kage, the look wasn’t so successful. The chokers, which were made from zippers, looked to be forced afterthoughts, and didn’t seem like a natural fit with the clothing, which teetered between mumsy and schoolgirl. Then there was D by Dalia, and although the thin chokers used didn’t particularly match the garments, they complemented the rebellious-glamour mood that it was intended to portray. Also, since the ribbons used were quite thin, they didn’t cut off the models’ necks like other, thicker chokers tend to. Her models looked cool and comfortable, and the chokers gave a suitable finishing touch.
Even at the Mochi presentation at Dubai Collections (a fashion event that took place before Fashion Forward), where the designer Ayah Tabari showed a collection inspired by Africa, chokers made a strong stance. Vibrantly coloured beads, ethnic motifs and metal adorned the chunky neckpieces.
If you’re going to attempt the choker trend, take a look at some photos of other women wearing them before you open up your wallet to buy one. It’s a rather risky move, especially because on those of us who weren’t blessed with model-esque, gazelle-like necks, it can be straight-up unflattering.