Black Ribbons Around the Neck: Echoes of Edwardian Design

The first glimmerings of this jewelry trend can be found in the April 2012 issue of Town & Country, which reported that stones set on ribbons and pendants hanging from black cords figured prominently in the pre-fall collections of Lanvin and Nina Ricci. These necklaces, suggested the magazine, “signal a return to the Age of Innocence” explaining that this style “reached a fever pitch in the Edwardian era, when aristocratic young women began sporting velvet ribbon chokers.”

As sometimes occurs in the creative process, practicality and vanity led to the Edwardian trend. Town & Country continued: “The trend is thought to have been spearheaded by King Edward VII’s wife, Queen Alexandra, who wore one to hide an unsightly scar.”

Pictured in that are pendants strung on black cords from David Yurman and Cartier, along with a design of stones set onto a black choker from Stephen Russell.

The August 2012 issue of Harper’s Bazaar describes the above look: “Fashion’s forward thinkers stun with these timeless looks for night.” With a cape and blouse from Dolce & Gabbana, the model wears a black ribbon necklace from Dior Fine Jewelry. She also wears a Cartier watch and bracelets from Van Cleef & Arpels and Chanel Fine Jewelry. Her clutch is from Bulgari and shoes are by Oscar de la Renta.

Casual luxury is the theme of a fashion spread in the July 2012 issue of Marie Claire, which teams up denim, leather and precious stones, and also mixes a black ribbon necklace with other necklaces. The model above includes in her look a pendant choker and pendant necklace from Cartier along with a diamond choker and a “black-and-diamond necklace” from H.Stern. Her long drop earrings are from de Grisogono. On her right arm and hand she wears a watch and scroll ring from Cartier , an H.Stern bracelet and a “black-ball ring” from de Grisogono. On her left arm and hand she wears a silver bangle and diamond strand bracelet from H.Stern, trinity bangles from Cartier, a leather bracelet from Stella & Dot, and a ring from de Grisogono. Her shirt is from Michael Kors and her shorts are from DKNY Jeans.

Actress Salma Hayek was a very early adapter of the look, wearing a wide black ribbon to which is affixed an Yves St. Laurent logo that accessorizes her Alexander McQueen lace dress and YSL platforms, as pictured in the February 13, 2012 issue of People.

The July 2012 issue of Elle accents a velvet gown by Gucci with a simple black ribbon from Mokuba worn as a choker. The model also wears diamond earrings from Bulgari and Marc Jacobs shoes, and carries a clutch from Gucci.

Not everyone can wear this style equally well—a black ribbon around the throat requires a long or moderately long neck. The style lends itself easily to creativity, the simple employment of a black ribbon or cord a fresh way to showcase a beautiful pendant or brooch.