The Detachable Collar – A Survey

Let’s face it. With the exception of winter scarves, neckwear is not a very pragmatic idea. Instead, it’s almost entirely aesthetic – enabling one to accent and accessorize any outfit without too much fuss.

Thomas Pink – Detachable Cuffs & Collar

This same idea underlies the recent popularity behind the detachable collar. The idea itself is brilliant. You can pair collars of different materials, styles, and colors with tops you already own – all without the potential bulk of layering a button-up or polo. It’s an ingenious way to style-up an otherwise drab or monotonous wardrobe.

Some of the biggest names in fashion design have capitalized on these collars throughout the last several years, but no one sums it up better than contemporary artist Louise Bourgeois. (In fact, she felt so strongly about her detachable collar that she included a monologue about it in her segment for PBS’s Art 21 series.)

“Instead of a blouse, you see, you just have these things so it is just nice” – Louise Bourgeois

But in any case, here is a curated look at some of the best and most varied examples available. As you can see, the possibilities are endless.

1) Cleo Ferin Mercury – “Hibernate with Me”

Cleo Ferin Mercury – Silk Badger

A playful throwback to the full mink scarves of the Mid 20th Century, this collar from Cleo Ferin Mercury is actually 100% silk and 100% ethical. Each one is made by hand in England. Although pictured here in the “Badger” style, it’s also available in an artic fox and a hedgehog.

2) 11 Objects – “Peacock” Collar

11 Objects – Silk Collar with Gold Leaf

Just as a collar might complement an outfit, the gold leaf is perfectly paired with a beautiful navy silk faille. It also features a brass stud closure and is proudly made in NYC by 11 Objects.

3) Falconiere – “Flower Bomb” Collar

Falcionier – Flower Bomb

Stemming from their Baroque collection, this collar from Falconiere relies on chainmaille to achieve a lace-like visual character. The juxtaposition between the materials is particularly striking, but is nonetheless extremely cohesive.

4) Miu Miu – Nudes Collar

Keira Knightley in Miu Miu Collar

Miu Miu is largely credited for bringing these collars onto the runway and into the mainstream. Despite only being around a short time, their collars verge on being one of their more iconic pieces. The label is also known for their sparrow and cat printed collars.

5) Offset Warehouse – Peter Pan Collar

Offset Warehouse – Peter Pan Collar

These collars are cut, sewn, and finished by hand in North London. Offset Warehouse uses recycled leather remnants and a wide satin ribbon to achieve a simple, but elegant look. The one above is pictured in navy, but they are also available in red, black, and tan.

6) Brooks Brothers – Wingtip Collar

Brooks Brothers – Wingtip Collar

This is the only collar in the group that is made for men. It’s everything you would expect from Brooks Brothers: clean, classic, and well made. That said, in all likelihood, women would look better in it anyway.

Junya Watanabe – Beige Moleskin Jacket

(image courtesy of Tres Bien Shop)

Not being one to indulge in high fashion, it was somewhat surprising to be so drawn to this jacket by Junya Watanabe, whose garments tend to require a certain level of commitment on behalf of both wearer and viewer. This piece on the other hand is an uncharacteristically restrained example of the designer at his best. The corduroy collar offers just enough of a contrast to the beige moleskin comprising the bulk of the jacket. The juxtaposition between the hidden and exposed button on the front is a great, yet subtle touch – especially in aligning with the buttons on each cuff to create a waist-high horizontal line.

(image courtesy of Tres Bien Shop)

Maison Martin Margiela Contrast Collar Knit

Alas – these sweaters are long gone from Fall 2011. That said, it’s worth revisiting. Between the two colorways (maroon/red & black/charcoal), this one takes the cake. Though I haven’t the budget for Maison Martin Margiela, they allegedly ascended in the fashion world due to their attention to detail, craft, and design.  The internal collar is an extended knit which folds up for feisty or remains down around mom & dad. Either way, I wish I had had $250 to pick up one of these suckers on sale. Oh well. Here’s to 2012.

Maison Martin Margiela F/11


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