This A/W 20 is the season of the statement collar from dagger points, ruffled edges, lace, embroidered, Pie Crust, oversized Peter Pan, anything goes as long as it makes a statement. From the Doily collars of Gucci to the sharp points of Alberta Ferretti, the collar has made its mark.
From the Milan and Paris A/W20 shows we saw oversized Peter Pan collars. Streetwear saw this collar as detachable, in some cases as a homemade version. This style of collar was originally designed by John White Alexander in 1905 for a costume for the stage production of J. M. Barrie’s play ‘Peter and Wendy’. The Broadway star Maude Adams played Peter.
The first iteration of the collar, known as a ruff, originated in the mid 16th century. Originally the removable fine Linen or Holland cambric fabric pleated style collar was worn by both men and women in Europe. By the 1580s the ruff was a large cartwheel, starched and wired The width of the fashionable ruff was about 9 inches wide and used 18 or 19 yards of fabric. A wireframe covered in silk thread was worn underneath it. The edge of the ruff was also wired. Ruffs were starched in various colours like blue, green and yellow, which was the favourite colour.
The ruff was popular because it was a changeable piece of cloth that could be laundered separately. It kept the wearer’s doublet or gown from becoming soiled at the neckline. The stiffness forced the wearer to have an upright posture. Their impracticality led to becoming a symbol of wealth and status.
The ruff continued to be worn into the early 17th century. By the time King Charles came to the English throne in 1625 the ruff had disappeared and was replaced by a loose collar which draped over the shoulders called a Falling Band Collar.
These collars were occasionally worn by women but were primarily a fashionable accessory for men. The collars were made from several layers of Dutch or Flemish Linen or lightly pleated Lawn fabric. They were often trimmed with handmade lace and embroidered, and was a statement of your wealth.