November 12 2010
Lucia van der Post
If you’re looking for a simple way to add a bit of instant glamour to your winter wardrobe, look no further than the free-floating collar. Everybody’s doing them – though possibly nobody quite as seductively as Mlle Chanel did years ago when she came up with a sumptuously oversized creamy satin collar, with a sliver of black ribbon simply tied around the neck to add extra pizzazz. She understood perfectly that a little something glamorous around the throat, whether it be pearls or light-reflecting silk or satin, is the best beauty treatment there is.
This winter, Hermès has created some rigorously chic collars. They’re really a bit more than a collar, though not yet quite a waistcoat or a jacket, and slimmer than a gilet. With some made entirely of the softest leather, some fur-trimmed (first picture), they mostly have long revers that taper almost to the waist and are designed to be slipped under a cardigan, a jacket or even a coat to add extra warmth – and a certain allure. There’s a large choice, from £800 up to £4,836.
For something simpler, less dauntingly formal, Alberta Ferretti has a beautiful little rounded collar of rabbit fur in grey or red (£154), which could easily be tied over any blouse, jacket or coat that didn’t itself have a complicated collar, while Marina Rinaldi has a luscious fox-fur collar, this time in navy (second picture, £201 from Harrods). If you hate the idea of fur, however, Chanel has the same notion but in cashmere; a darling little collar in black with a silver stripe for £600. And for those of a slightly wackier disposition, there are also armlets (from elbow to wrist) for £480.
Brunello Cucinelli also does what I suppose one must call capelets – in navy with detachable fur (£1,400), in grey with beading (third picture, £829) and a grey cashmere version (£639) that sits on top of a dress or blouse. Finally, there’s a brilliant label called Aganovich whose young designers, Brock Taylor and Nana Aganovich, have an innovative approach to clothing, offering myriad pieces that can be added or subtracted, including some beautiful silk gabardine collars (£82). “You can choose between simplicity and extreme complication,” is how Aganovich explains the detachable pieces; capes, asymmetrical gilets and lots more.