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Why are necklaces disappearing from the red carpet?

by AJ Craig 

With January always comes the awards season, but do necklaces and red carpets not mix any more? 

Well, TikTok seems to be convinced. The Golden Globes and Critics Choice awards have been the first major ceremonies to have happened this year and with landmark wins and laugh-out-loud speeches, it would be easy to think that everything is fine and dandy in the world of red carpets and glamour, however, there has been a little sparkly something missing recently. 

Jewellery and Hollywood glamour have been synonymous for decades. Think Marilyn Monroe’s infamous “Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend” scene from Gentleman Prefer Blondes, Audrey Hepburn’s iconic Breakfast at Tiffany’s necklace and gloves combo, or even how the entire plot of Oceans 8 surrounds the importance of one single necklace. 

But if these accessories are so important, then why have they suddenly left the spotlight?

Some outfits have no need for a necklace, we know. If we’re dealing with turtlenecks or if it would clash with statement earrings then to forgo the décolletage accessory makes sense. When looking at both Quinta Brunson and Jessica Chastain’s Golden Globe looks, it’s understandable why they were styled sans-necklace. Brunson sports a gorgeous, eye-catching bustier with fuchsia ruffles that reach ever so slightly up onto her chest, the eyes are already on the outfit and they settle on the flash of pink. The verdict? No necklace is acceptable. Similarly, Jessica Chastain sported an incredibly glittery spiderweb gown that rounded out at her collarbones. The sparkle of the dress more than makes up for the lack of a necklace. 

However, apart from a select few examples, the majority of outfits could benefit from some added jewels. The blank space of bare chest and collar bones is incredibly loud and draws the eyes more to that space than any flashy necklace would. A few notable examples from the last few weeks include Daisy Edgar-Jones’ Gucci Golden Globes look, Madelyn Cline’s feathery Critics Choice outfit and even Margot Robbie's look for the Sydney premiere of ‘Babylon’. This jewellery cut-back is apparently not just reserved for awards shows, it is applicable to every high-profile event. 

A theory for this lack of glam on the red carpet is a simple one: celebs want to appear humble. With this year being the first year of normal service in awards, press tours and premieres after years of isolation and lockdowns, you would expect more glamour than ever. However, flaunting flashy accessories while the general public still attempts to recover from the pandemic seems vastly inappropriate - and certainly doesn’t bode well from a PR point of view. What’s more humble than a bespoke designer gown with no necklace?

Another theory? Think ‘90s. We’ve seen slip dresses, chunky shoes and thin eyebrows come back but it seems there’s more to follow. That’s right, the skinny, heroin-chic look is seemingly trying to poke its head back out again. The favourite accessory of the 90s supermodel era was a skinny, eye-catching collarbone, something that was notoriously sported by Kate Moss and Gia Carangi. Low and wide-cut necklines framed the chest and collar bones in ad campaigns and streetwear - and the same techniques can be seen in recent looks. Does this then pose the question; is fashion veering back to being synonymous with ‘skinny’?

With the Oscars, BAFTAs, and the BRITS coming up, we’ll have to continue investigating into the great missing necklace mystery and hopefully get confirmation on whether this lack of sparkle is a socio-political statement of frugality and affordability or more of a push to fall back into that 90s, bared collar bone, heroin chic. We’ll keep our magnifying glasses polished over the next few weeks.

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