Celebrity

Vivienne Westwood’s tiktok pearl necklace phenomenon

With the sad passing of the British fashion legend, we take a look at how Dame Vivienne Westwood's pearl choker became a TikTok phenomenon for Gen-Z

By Joshua Hendren

Vivienne Westwood three row pearl choker in brass and rhodium
Vivienne Westwood three row pearl choker in brass and rhodium

Timeless as they are, pearls are having a revival. Once synonymous with Sloane Rangers, twinsets and silver screen stars like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly, the pearl jewellery trend that is blowing up this season is all about adding a contemporary twist to the classic strand. 

Kept in regular rotation by the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker, Harry Styles and the Duchess of Cambridge, the June birthstone has captivated the glitterati with its versatility and punkish lustre. Whether baroque or freshwater, adorning your wrist or ear, you simply can’t go wrong with the classic pearl.

Vivienne Westwood pearl necklace
Vivienne Westwood peral necklace

Most recently, you may have noticed a specific pearl choker that’s doing the rounds on social media, spotted on the necks of so many famous influencers and celebrities it’s been dubbed the TikTok Necklace. The design in question is Vivienne Westwood’s Bas Relief Choker. It features three hand-knotted rows of pearls and is set with Westwood’s Swarovski crystal-encrusted Orb logo at its centre.

The original design debuted as a single strand in the late 1980s as part of Westwood’s Harris Tweed Fall 1987 runway collection. It was later updated to a triple strand for Westwood’s Portrait collection in 1990. Today, the TikTok Necklace is a staple of the A-list – Rihanna, Dua Lipa, and Bella Hadid are just a few of its fans. 

Vivienne Westwood pearl choker in gold
Vivienne Westwood three row pearl choker in gold

But why has this particular necklace gained such a cult following? Perhaps it’s the pearl’s universal appeal. It’s been revitalised by the likes of Simone Rocha and a whole host of independent jewellery brands. Mikimoto, Éliou, Completedworks and Pacharee are all making pearls more accessible to the world with their covetable, boundary pushing designs. 

Or perhaps its present day renaissance may come from a more unexpected source – namely Japanese anime. The currently trending manga Nana, adapted into an anime series from 2006 to 2007, heavily promotes Westwood’s Orb design. Its author, Ai Yazawa, a former fashion student, was charmed by the British designer’s punk roots, sparking a craze for Westwood’s jewellery with the show’s cult following. During the mid 2000s, Westwood even took advantage of this fanfare and collaborated with Nana on advertisements featured in the popular Japanese punk fashion magazine Kera.

Whatever the reason, the British designer has certainly taken note of the piece’s surging popularity. Westwood updated the pearl choker in her Spring/Summer 2022 collection, with an even larger Orb pendant, elevated with cascading layers of pearls and a youthful charm.

Blending tradition with a dashing of punk, it’s no surprise the style has spawned a new wave of Gen-Z fans. Adding the right zhush to any outfit, the Vivienne Westwood TikTok necklace is an accessory that is sure to stand the test of time.

Like this? Read about fashion pink pearl brand Polite Worldwide

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