At the confluence between elegance, yet inescapably bold, lies jewellery’s belle of the ball – the XXL choker necklace. The trend that has become 2023’s poster child, in the world of jewellery that is, sees multiple layers of natural diamonds and pearls, replacing a single strand of either and decadent gemstones superseding a humble black choker encompassed in velvet ribbon.
With choker’s popularity ebbing and flowing through epochs, why, you may ask, have XXL chokers witnessed such a strong resurgence? In a post-pandemic era that favoured “quieter” dressing for a short period, statement choker’s revival embodies a braver, buoyant and beaming aesthetic – the ultimate comeback. “People just want to spoil themselves,” according to Euromonitor’s Kauthat Jakoet, a sentiment that is in line with the rise of “reward purchasing,” characterised by the enjoyment of self-indulgent purchases. Moreover, the frenzy surrounding exaggerated choker necklaces can be explained by the increase of very important clients (VICs) and their continuous quest for unique pieces according to Bain & Company and Altagamma’s recent Spring Luxury Study in 2023. Even the most recent, SS24 shows including the likes of Moschino with its extravagant layered pearl chokers and Palomo Spain’s showcasing of wearable sculptures are witness to fashion’s seal of approval that the trend is here to stay beyond pumpkin and snowflake season.
LARGER THAN LIFE
The natural diamond choker reinstates its position as a symbol of elegance
Pop culture cementing XXL choker’s trend status – then and now.
Reminisce the animated image of Marilyn Monroe parading her jewels, most notably an array of chaotically layered necklaces, with natural diamonds from chin to décolletage. And now, a spectacle wearing Audrey Hepburn enjoying the crisp of a croissant in the company of her quadruple stranded pearl necklace. These are, arguably, two of the most prominent modern-day depictions of the not-so-humble choker.
When Elizabeth Taylor famously uttered the words, “big girls need big diamonds,” she foreshadowed her preference for “big” chokers too. In the midst of the violet-eyed talent’s enviable jewellery collection, lies a necklace that became a staple in her more glamorous looks – a larger-than-life choker. A stunning Bulgari necklace with a detachable pendant featuring emeralds framed in white natural diamonds. The piece is a phenomenal portrayal of the aesthetic power that coloured stones can instil.
Steadfast in its position as jewellery’s emblem of elegance, the small screen sensation, HBO’s “The Gilded Age,” would cement a fixation on not-so-small choker necklaces in terms of their contemporary relevance. The rivals of America’s upper echelons, Mrs. Russell (Carrie Coon) a newcomer and Mrs. Astor (Donna Murphy), the alleged personification of old money, only commonality lies in the grandeur and opulence of their exaggerated chokers (possibly foreshadowing their simmering allegiance?).
Only a month after the series’ stellar debut, “Gilded Glamour,” titled 2022’s Met Gala theme. The XXL choker that boasted “best dressed” status in jewellery connoisseurs’ books was, arguably, Emma Chamberlain’s Maharaja of Patiala Cartier necklace. Even this year’s Met Gala, “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty,” may as well have included an invisible memo reading “XXL chokers required!” considering the unfathomable number of high jewellery designers’ choker concoctions gracing the red carpet.
The strikingly chic necklace’s popularity has even informally turned the biggest game of the year, the Super Bowl, into Beyoncé’s runway for showcasing her chosen Messika XXL choker necklace of the season. Similarly, the year’s defining movie, Barbie, revelled in the choker obsession. A candy-pink dress and a Vivienne Westwood pearl sensation to match, have become synonymous with Margot Robbie’s portrayal of the nostalgic plastic doll.
ZOYA – A TATA PRODUCT
XXL choker necklace design innovation – the boundaries of novelty.
The snug-fitting adornment has encircled the necks of humans throughout history from as early as the Pharaohs for its protective powers and fanned-out design, to several Queens of England. Alexandra of Denmark’s (Queen Victoria’s successor) “dog collar,” is one of the earliest representations of a truly hyperbolic choker with the power to conceal her scar bearing neck from thyroid surgery. The ability to customise said choker’s design with the addition of brooches was the furthest extent of originality in design the era had encountered.
Today, however, we witness the pinnacle of design innovation with regards to these neck covering masterpieces. The contemporary XXL choker favours mixing metals, a mélange of coloured stones and natural diamonds. Most importantly, the modern-day statement choker must display an element of transformability. The result is an endlessly versatile piece. Wearers are able to choose between bold versus less elaborate looks with the click of a clasp, morphing what was once a choker, into a brooch, a pair of earrings or even a pendant.
ALL EYES ON YOU
The contemporary choker is versatile and can transform into various forms
The high jewellery craze witnessed in 2023, forced Place Vendôme’s finest and RTW brands turning to high jewellery to resort to competing on design innovation as their key differentiator. Maisons challenged the boundaries of what is possible at the atelier – especially in the realm of XXL chokers, a design dominating both Haute Couture weeks. Louis Vuitton’s “Wave” choker necklace from its latest “Deep Time” collection, for example, portrays a life-like enveloping design, carefully crafted to reflect the silhouette of a “surging ocean.” Chanel’s atelier conjured a design miracle with its ability to replicate the look, feel and fluidity of movement of Mademoiselle Coco’s favoured fabric in the Maison’s latest high jewellery “Tweed Royal Necklace.”
XXL choker styling and buying guide – considerations to make.
In an attempt to ease the endeavour of acquiring an XXL choker, we offer you our golden rule duo for buying and styling considerations, in the event you come across a diamond gift glistening in a vitrine.
The Silhouette Rule – enhance your features by choosing the right shape! Chokers occupying a larger surface area, portraying a garment-like nature flatter and sit effortlessly on a longer neck. Contrastingly, shorter proportioned necks suit chokers exhibiting a medium thickness by avoiding further curbing of the neck’s length. With regards to styling, opting for chokers that mimic the outline of one’s most worn necklines allow for a cohesive and polished look.
Colour Palette Rule – accentuate your aesthetic with an injection of colour!A speckling of colour throughout bold choker jewellery lends an element of interest, especially when contrasted against white natural diamonds, for a textured feel. The result is raising the volume on an already loud piece, in true statement making style. We recommend pairing coloured stone chokers with stud earrings so as not to distract from the piece’s center stage presence, an effort that is difficult to accomplish when coordinated with chandelier earrings.