Grace Kelly glamourised it. Madonna gave it an androgynous twist. Katharine Hepburn camouflaged her neck with its assistance.

What started as an accessory trend in seasons past has now transitioned into one of the statements to make in spring 2012. If the title of this trend guide and the photo aren’t enough to go by, we are, indeed, talking about the transition of the detachable collar into a spring trend where the collar acts as a statement.

statement collars to buy
Traditionally belonging to the masculine wardrobe, over the years the humble collar has served its time for fluctuating between genders. It initiated the masculine trend in the most obvious fashion, but with the subtle seep of chiffon blouses and feminine silhouettes, the birth of androgyny was seen.

During the Great War, it belonged exclusively to a uniform, then the creative charisma of Hollywood allowed the collar to enter a female actor’s green room.

The shape and size of collars started changing with time and the industry has seen every possible variety of it, whether that’s an inspiration from a cartoon character or a kitchen appliance. Today, as we see androgyny plant a recurring kiss in a woman’s wardrobe, the collar is also getting a subsequent boost in terms of fame, wearability and its unique identity.

Printed collar at Preen

Here’s how to make it a statement of your wardrobe in spring 2012:

Statement collar as accessory
If there was one element that designer Karl Lagerfeld has consistently kept the fashion world’s focus on, then it would be the monochromatic collar. The detachable collar from Lagerfeld’s capsule collection was sold out within minutes, for obvious reasons, but alternatives have long crowded high-street fashion stores. You don’t have to keep it monochromatic though: as a statement, a detachable collar can be all shades of interesting.

The collar still remains an accessory, but it’s multiple personality and wearability has promoted it to being a prime character for spring 2012. So much so, that the statement collar is now starting to direct an outfit, rather than a vice-versa scenario.

Statement collar as detail
If you’ve been a regular reader, you’d understand’s passion for the curated wardrobe. And with its double-duty role, this statement collar ticks all the boxes in the curation checklist, hence making it an imperative acquisition.

Pre-spring 2012, a collar was seen as a part of the roaring androgyny trend; it was always in sight, but it never stood out by itself. However, this underdog piece of fabric has opened up to a diverse range of options, be it by the means of the cut, the textile or even the style of collar.

Reptile skin zip-off collar at House of Holland

Spring 2012’s statement collars don’t require a shirt or printed pants for definition; they’re an individual trend in the running. They have become an added detail to an outfit, rather than just supporting a classic white shirt. The good news is while you embrace the collar trend this season, you’ll also subtly dip your toes into the androgynous trend without fully diving in its aesthetic.

Who’s designing it
In several pieces from Charlotte Ronson spring / summer 2012, the collar dictates the silhouette of the outfit. The geometric contouring around the neck ties together the asymmetrical threads on the body.

House of Holland’s spring collection entails a similar aesthetic where animal-print collars have been teamed with candy coloured button-down dresses. Without the striking collar, the dress would have been a boring adaptation of a ballerina’s wardrobe.

This is where the magic of a collar settles; the confinement around the neck diverts the gaze on the entire outfit, while still bringing the gaze back to the crispness of this statement piece.

The next obvious question is: how can you make this trend your own?
Collars are being sewn into ‘60s style paisley-print dresses, as well as the ‘70s bohemian aura, and they’re been given full responsibility of monitoring the outfit.

Louis Vuitton’s spring 2012 collection saw a clever teaming of boyish buttoned-up collared shirts with lacy textiles and girlish silhouettes. Marc Jacobs’ conventional idea of having a classic white shirt with lacy and appliqu├ęd collar, resulted in a tilt towards babydoll androgyny. If you’re looking at injecting precise amounts of masculine and feminine doses into your spring wardrobe, then Louis Vuitton’s collection should be your first point of reference. Look for lace collars and collars with feathers, origami or floral prints for them to stand out and make a statement.

Lace collar at Louis Vuitton

For a cultural and exotic punch to your outfit, look to Haider Ackermann’s display of brocades, stiff organza and reversible silk collars. Style these with more formal attire to get the most of out the collar. But remember to stay away from styling a canvas of colourful confusion. If in doubt, allow your outfit to have a maximum of two colours, and let the bold collar lift the outfit up.

All the bling, leather and sexual energy in Balmain spring 2012 are strong-as-ever, and the presence of embellished collars and studded collars in gold don’t distract. Pearls, metallic diamante and African beads are a good place to start when adapting this variation of a statement collar.

Studded collar

Also consider some pieces from Elie Tahari’s spring collection for inspiration, if soft, reversible collars on double-breasted blazers are on your mind. They bring an army-edge to an outfit; a military-chic revival with a more laid-back cut and fit.

So, whether you’re wearing the collar as a supporting accessory or as a statement piece in your outfit, this fabric around your collarbones will reinstate your personality. Steer the androgynous ship or sail the collared-feminine-chic yacht; you’re the ultimate boss.

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