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sophie-billington
24th October 2016

Bloody chokers, they’re back in fashion again!

Whilst chokers adorn many necks of the Manchester student body, Sophie Billington takes a look at their grim and gruesome origins from 18th century France
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TLDR

It might frighten you to find that those tight-fitting necklaces we call ‘chokers’ have a long and dark history suitable to their name.

Subtle, small and discreet chokers are currently seen as the perfect accessory to add an edge and vamp up any outfit. However their past in fashion has not been short-lived and their significance bears a tribute to the short-lived, making their presence throughout time decidedly spooky.

‘A la victime’ was a horrifying and defiant movement in late 18th century French fashion. It mirrored the image of those who met a swift yet brutal public execution during the Reign of Terror, a bloody period of the French revolution.

High society mocked and mimicked death by adorning the neck with red ribbons in literally cut-throat fashion. Not only was this the case but decadent and exclusively aristocratic balls are rumoured to have been held in honour of murdered relatives.

At the ‘Bals des Victimes’, the elite wore extraordinarily precious red rubies around their necks to emulate droplets of blood.

If you opt to follow in the footsteps of modern day beauties such as Lily Rose Depp, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Poppy Delevingne for Halloween, allow yourself to feel not only justified but proud in your minimal effort to look elegantly intimidating.

On the other hand, say what you will, but the ruthless irony with which vampy teenager wears the choker today is nothing on the gothic grotesque of the 18th century aristocratic French elite. A revival of the 90s is not quite the same as a revival of the dead and buried.


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