A string of pearls used to be associated with grandmothers, twinsets and Sloane Rangers. Now, it's taken over TikTok. Or, at least, one very specific necklace has. Vivienne Westwood's Bas Relief Choker, featuring three rows of pearls from Swarovski, has appeared on so many influencer and celebrity users that, as a trend forecaster explained in The New York Times, 'it's actually called the TikTok necklace.'
Kylie Jenner, Bella Hadid and Rihanna all own the necklace in question (the latter was spotted wearing hers with a cluster of other pearl necklaces and a baseball cap for a trip to Whole Foods), and it became the lynchpin for Dua Lipa's BRITs look.
At London Fashion Week, Vivienne Westwood just unveiled her vision for spring/summer 2022, which is inspired by her spring 1998 'Tied to the Mast' collection. And guess what made a very prevalent appearance? That's right, an updated version of the pearl choker.
But why has this particular necklace gained such a cult following? Perhaps it's because pearls have been revitalised by the likes of Simone Rocha, whose pearly slides and drop earrings have become a go-to for modern brides. Then there's Harry Styles, who shares his necklace collection with girlfriend Olivia Wilde, and a whole clutch of jewellery brands (Fry Powers, Éliou, Timeless Pearly and Completedworks) who are blowing the cobwebs off pearls with every ear cuff and choker necklace they produce.
Then there's the element of nostalgia, which always goes down a treat on TikTok. (Westwood first sent a pearl necklace down the catwalk in 1987, introducing the three-row pearl choker three years later in 1990.) No wonder today's influencer/It girls, who have already mined the '90s for its leather coats, tinted sunglasses, shoulder bags and boot-cut jeans, have come knocking.
If you want to join the pearl party, Westwood's necklace is available with a silver or gold orb for £340. It's certainly an investment but then, if you're going to wear it for the next 30 years, perhaps it's one worth making.